With their first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected safety Taylor Rapp out of Washington. What turned out to be a mid surprise might be one of their better picks in the draft. Rapp will get the opportunity to learn behind Eric Weddle and play an integral role in Wade Phillips’ defense as a rookie. He’s next in our roster preview series.
Rapp went to Washington to play with Huskies after an incredible high school career at Sehome and made an immediate impact. As a freshman, he was named Pac-12 Freshman Defensive Player of the Year
and named to the Freshman All-America First Team.
The Washington safety started 12 games as a sophomore and earned First Team All-Pac-12 honors. He once again earned First-Team All-Pac-12 honors as a junior and was also named First-Team All-America. Rapp recorded a career career-high nine tackles at Oregon and finished with 59 tackles for a second-straight year.
Rapp chose to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft where he was selected by the Rams. At Washington, Rapp led one of the best secondaries in the nation as he became one of the top-coveted safeties in the draft.
Rapp may not start right away as the Los Angeles Rams signed Eric Weddle and John Johnson is locked in on the other side. However, Rapp will have a role on special teams as well as play on defense on a rotational basis. Johnson and Weddle are the clear 1-2 with Rapp right behind them.
Three Plays on Tape
❗️One of the most impressive defensive plays I saw in 2018:
⚡️Washington’s Taylor Rapp tracking down this Boundary Pin & Pull all the way from his Strong Safety Postion!
This dude is unbelievable! pic.twitter.com/0P4J2Yv60j
— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) December 20, 2018
This play is exactly why the Los Angeles Rams drafted Rapp. The Washington safety is excellent in run support. This is one of the most impressive plays from last season. Rapp comes around the play to track down the ball-carrier from behind and makes the tackle.
What can’t Taylor Rapp do? pic.twitter.com/gGD2BuYvuz
— yellow light. (@_BeEnlightened_) September 23, 2018
Rapp may be one of the most versatile safeties in this draft class and a big reason why the Rams drafted him. The team lost Mark Barron in the offseason, and while Rapp won’t move to linebacker, he could certainly play that role in specific packages. His run support was on display on the first play, and here he rushes the passer and beats the left tackle.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) December 1, 2018
This play was also one of the more impressive from last season and displayed Rapp’s ability as a blitzer. Wade Phillips is going to have a lot of fun with Rapp as he can play all over the field.
Taylor Rapp is one sticky dude in Man Coverage. I love that he uses his arms to get positioning and mirror the receiver. Gives himself perfect leverage and play to the ball if the throw is going there. Dude is a very good Man Coverage S. #DraftTwitter pic.twitter.com/PIiFC384sM
— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) January 3, 2019
We’ll add a fourth play to include a play in coverage. Here his versatility is once again shown off as Rapp lines up in the slot. He has the speed to stick with the receiver and the awareness to avoid the pick. Because of that, this play results in a sack.
How much will Taylor Rapp contribute?
The Rams signed Eric Weddle and have John Johnson, but that doesn’t mean that Rapp won’t contribute. This is a player that will play all over the defense and contribute on special teams. With the Rams losing Barron, Rapp will line up at linebacker as well as safety.
Phillips is going to have some packages for Rapp. This was a player that got drafted in the second round. He’s not going to ride the bench all year.
2019 Outlook and Role
As mentioned earlier, Rapp will contribute everywhere. He’s excellent in run support. Therefore we’ll see him in running situations, however, with his athleticism, he’ll also play snaps in coverage. Like the Rams have done with their rookies that last two seasons, they will work Rapp in slowly to get him more comfortable going into year two.
Chances of Making Final Roster
The Rams drafted Rapp in the second round, and therefore he should be seen as a lock to make the roster. That’s not the only reason Rapp will make the roster though. The fact of the matter is, he’s a very good safety that will give the Rams one of the best safety duos in 2-3 years with Johnson. His versatility and athleticism will add another dimension to the defense.