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St. Louis Rams Free Agency: Cortland Finnegan And A Needed Edge

A seventh-round pick in 2006, Cortland Finnegan lacks the size or the prestigious college football background of players drafted well ahead of him. Some would call those deficiencies, but Finnegan has used them to his advantage. It gives him a chip on shoulder, an edge, and when you lack the size and bona fides of a first-round pick, you have to possess those things to play the game of football.

Finnegan's modus operandi is not unlike that of the St. Louis Rams, the current version under Jeff Fisher. A team long since written off as a speed bump for others to pass over on their way to more serious pursuits in January. Finnegan is a perfect fit for the Rams, and might be the most important free agent signing the team has made in years.

NFL Films guru spent some time breaking down Finnegan's play with Adam Caplan on a film series featured on the Eagles' web site. What he had to say is very encouraging.

"He plays the game with an edge," said Cosell. "There's nothing wrong with that."

Cosell walks the viewer through Finnegan's strengths in coverage, his awareness of the field and the players around him, which is really the key to good coverage more so than all the hype given to size and speed.

Finnegan's physicality gives him an edge from the second the ball is snapped.

"[Finnegan] makes receivers work to get off the line of scrimmage," said Cosell.

Another plus for Finnegan is his play in the slot, which Cosell notes in the video. That goes well with Finnegan's ability to blitz, something that would naturally appeal to Gregg Williams' attack-happy defense. Cosell notes Finnegan's acumen for the blitz is essential for slot play because so many teams depend on their slot player on the blitz. Just watch Finnegan bring down Cam Newton from the slot in the video.

The Rams brought Finnegan in on Tuesday night and would not let him walk away without a signed deal. Some have said that the five-year, $50 million deal is too much, but that is the going rate for an upper echelon starting cornerback. Besides, Finnegan is only 28-years old.

Ten million dollars per year is a small price to pay to add a player that will reshape the Rams defense, give them an edge. After years of being looked down a upon, the Rams have no choice but to play with a chip on their shoulder.