The next undrafted free agent we’re shining the spotlight on is former Miami safety/linebacker hybrid Romeo Finely. The correct term for Finely’s position with the Hurricanes is called the “Striker”, which you can sort’ve compare to the “Star” role played by Kyzir White when he was at West Virginia.
Finley got to Miami by way of Niceville High School in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He was the #12-rated safety in the nation by ESPN and the #3 safety in the state of Florida. As a four-star safety prospect, Finley chose to stay close to home for his college career and picked Miami over the likes of Clemson, Florida, and Michigan.
The 6’1, 213-pound defender didn’t play much during his first two years on campus. As a true freshmen and sophomore, he played in 25 games but spent most of those snaps on special teams. He accumulated just 14 tackles and a single pass breakup during that span.
His breakout season came as a junior in 2018 when he developed a knack for disrupting defenses. In 13 games with four starts, he finished the year with just 28 total tackles but he added five tackles-for-loss, four pass breakups, and two interceptions in which he took one back for an 83-yard touchdown.
His final year at Miami was his first as a full-time starter. He managed to set a career-high in tackles with 54 and also threw in four for loss, another interception, and three more pass breakups.
Romeo Finley | #ItsAllAboutTheU pic.twitter.com/Gf8DlQssiv— GO ‘CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) August 25, 2019
Finley’s versatility was the determining factor for him to take the leap and leave his traditional safety position. When then-defensive coordinator Manny Diaz invented the Striker position, Finley saw a chance to showcase all his abilities in one role. As the striker, Finley was the team’s do-it-all piece that didn’t have to come off the field no matter the down or distance. He was equally adept at covering the slot and bringing run support. If given the opportunity, he could also rush the passer.
The signing of Finley was a big “of course” moment when you realize he is the exact type of player the Chargers look for. It’s tough to name a better pair than the Bolts and ‘tweener safety/linebackers.
Seeing how the Bolts are a little packed at sub-package linebacker, it’s tough to see Finley making the final roster over the guys already there. Off the top of my head, they have three to four guys who will likely see time there this season. It’s looking to be the new role for Desmond King but Rayshawn Jenkins’ name has also been thrown out there to potentially fill that spot. You’ve also got Alohi Gilman and Roderic Teamer. It’s a tough draw for Finley.
But versatility usually wins out. If he can do more than Teamer at the very least, then maybe he sneaks through by the skin of his teeth.