Dolphins scouting report: Finnegan, Smith

April, 4, 2014
Apr 4
1:30
PM ET
The Miami Dolphins are having a busy offseason signing free agents. But how good are these players?

ESPN.com’s Dolphins page is tapping into our NFL Nation reporters to get a full scouting report on Miami’s newest crop of free agents.

ESPN.com St. Louis Rams reporter Nick Wagoner shares his thoughts on new Dolphins cornerback Cortland Finnegan and guard Shelley Smith:
“Finnegan got off to a great start in his first year with the Rams, picking off three passes in his first three games to open 2012. It was mostly downhill from there. He battled soft tissue injuries for most of the rest of his time in St. Louis before an eye injury ended his 2013 season early. He's a great locker room-presence but has long relied on savvy and toughness because he's only an average athlete by NFL cornerback standards. Much of that athleticism has seemed to dissipate and savvy and toughness only goes so far.

“Smith is a bit undersized but what he lacks in size he makes up for in quickness. He's at his best as a run blocker, especially when he can use his athleticism to get to the second level and is best used in a zone-blocking scheme. He also has a tendency to get overpowered by bigger, more physical fronts, which he saw plenty of in the NFC West. As a pass blocker, Smith leaves much to be desired. He has a tendency to be a bit of a leaner, which often leaves him off balance and gets him beat. He still has some upside and could succeed if used right but was best served as a primary backup on the interior in St. Louis.”

Interesting analysis by Wagoner on both players. The major question with Finnegan is how much does he have left in the tank? As Wagoner mentioned, Finnegan relied on toughness and smarts his entire career. But with his body breaking down, can the Dolphins rely on that for the next season or two?

Smith appears to be a good fit for Miami’s offensive line. The Dolphins are going for smaller, quicker linemen who can move in space. John Jerry and Richie Incognito -- last year’s starting guards -- were too big and slow to get to the next level consistently. But Smith’s inconsistent pass blocking is an issue, especially after the Dolphins allowed a franchise-record 58 quarterback sacks last season.

In case you missed it, here is an in-depth scouting report on new Dolphins safety Louis Delmas and right tackle Jason Fox from ESPN.com Detroit Lions reporter Michael Rothstein.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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