Two Rams crack #NFLRank list

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
3:36
PM ET
EARTH CITY, Mo. -- Two Rams cracked the list on ESPN’s #NFLRank project Thursday morning, the first pair of St. Louis players to show up on the list.

Thursday’s list reveals players ranked from No. 61 through 70 on each side of the ball. For the first time since the list reveal began Monday, a Ram popped up.

On offense, left tackle Jake Long checks in at No. 61. Cornerback Cortland Finnegan sits at No. 63 on defense.

Long
Offense, No. 61: Long

Stats & Info: Long has made the Pro Bowl in four of his five seasons, with last season being the first time he missed out. With Long on the field in 2012 for the Dolphins, Ryan Tannehill was sacked once every 18.3 drop-backs compared to once every 10.9 drop-backs with Long off the field.

My take: Injuries were an issue for Long last year but the above stat makes it clear he was a net positive for the Dolphins. The Rams have taken steps to ensure Long will be healthy and ready for the regular season by giving him periodic rest throughout training camp. He’s also got a bit of a chip on his shoulder as some have said he’s not an elite tackle anymore. Based on what I’ve seen, Long is poised to bounce back.

Finnegan
Finnegan
Defense, No. 63 Finnegan

Stats & Info: Finnegan has played 3,174 snaps in the past three seasons. Only Titans safety and former teammate Michael Griffin has played more.

My take: Finnegan is about as dependable as they come. He got off to a strong start with three interceptions in his first three games as a Ram last year but was slowed a bit by a hamstring injury at the end of the season. He’s been challenged more in this year’s camp by a faster group of receivers, but that should only have him more prepared for the regular season. Finnegan won’t wow you with big, flashy plays but he’s consistent and reliable.

Nick Wagoner

ESPN St. Louis Rams reporter

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