NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 18: Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens and Cortland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans put their hands to the face mask at the LP Field on September 18, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Cortland Finnegan is going to be a refreshing sight decked out in a St. Louis Rams uniform this season and for the years to come. In 2011, Finnegan was one of the best all-around corners in the NFL. He excelled in both pass coverage as well as run support, something the Rams will appreciate after their recent struggles against the run. The stats guys over at Pro Football Focus rolled out their list of the 10 best single-game performances from cornerbacks last season, and Finnegan's name is on the list ... twice.
Ranked by PFF's scoring metrics, Finnegan's two performances come in tied for the third-best spot on the list.
Finnegan is the only player to have two performances in the Top 10 for 2011, and they just so happen to have the same overall grade. Finnegan is one of the few cornerbacks able to play outside in base and then move into the slot in nickel without seeing his performance drop. In Week 2, Finnegan broke up four of the seven passes into his coverage (one of which that led to an interception), allowing just two receptions for 24 yards. In Week 9 against Cincinnati he allowed just the single reception for 3 yards while breaking up two passes. He was also able to bat a pass (on a blitz), pick up a pressure and pick up two defensive stops in the run game. What you have here are two complete displays from a complete cornerback.
Those kind of performances will be most welcome for the Rams.
Right now, I expect Janoris Jenkins to grab the other starting cornerback spot. A healthy Bradley Fletcher would likely be third on the depth chart, though that could be open to competition, and Finnegan would slide to the slot role with Jenkins and Fletcher on the outside in nickel packages.
It could be a very effective combination for the Rams.