Dear Taylor Rapp,
You have played your way into Los Angeles Rams fans’ hearts across the nation, you have taken over the hybrid linebacker position alongside Corey Littleton, and you have had a great start to a young career. Now, when you dropped in the draft due to your 40-time I just didn’t get it, but when you dropped to the Rams a lot of Rams nation knew you were the piece that the Rams needed to help complete their defense. Good stuff T. Rapp….
In all seriousness, Taylor Rapp has been a pleasant surprise to anyone who didn’t watch Washington football. If you were one of the select few to not watch or hear about Rapp’s performance at U-Dub, I can sum it up for you in one phrase: full circle.
All Around Beast:
Rapp’s stats for his entire three-year career at Washington are as follows: 103 total tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 7 interceptions, 6 passes defended, and three forced fumbles. To some, these stats could seem pedestrian and at first, my thoughts were the same. Then I did some digging. Once the Rams drafted Rapp, I looked at some pre-draft articles and pieces written by some Washington-area writers and I found some really convincing content that only made the Rams’ selection of Rapp even better.
First, in the Seattle Times, writer Adam Rude wrote about a then-freshman Taylor Rapp’s dominant game to carry Washington to a Pac-12 Championship. Rude got a great quote from a 19-year-old Rapp after the game, “It felt so good. I’m still trying to take it all in right now. It’s so surreal. It feels like a dream.”
The dream continued into Rapp’s sophomore and junior seasons. Over his last two years at Washington, Rapp and former teammate, Byron Murphy made names for themselves as potential first-round draft picks.
Post-draft, after taking Rapp with their pick in the second round, Sean McVay voiced his opinion on the young hybrid safety, “To get a player like Taylor Rapp who we would’ve felt comfortable with potentially taking at 31…. A versatile playmaker, very similar in the mold of what you love about Eric Weddle and John Johnson.”
The Rams knew. They knew that Rapp’s undesirable 40-time was something that would scare away other teams and they also knew it wouldn’t affect Rapp’s play.
In his NFL debut against the Panthers, T. Rapp played 47 percent of the defensive snaps and had 7 total tackles. Being a rookie, Rapp didn’t beat Bryce Hager in snaps the first week of the season, but when he was on the field he made a difference. Rapp also played around half of the Rams’ special teams snaps. I, along with some other fans on Rams twitter didn’t have expectations for Rapp in his first game, nonetheless, he impressed me in his first reps as a pro. He’d do even more with more snaps to come.
In week 2 versus the New Orleans Saints, Rapp got his first starter-level action. Getting 63 percent of the defensive snaps, Rapp proved his worth as a second-round pick. As I sat on my couch watching the game with attentive eyes, I stood up and yelled as I saw Taylor Rapp defended the former-Ram Jared Cook and deflected a pass that would have been a solid gain. In what might have been the most athletic secondary play of the day, Rapp stalled a Saints drive and made his mark. He also out-snapped Bryce Hager for the game at hybrid inside linebacker.
Last week versus the Cleveland Browns, Rapp made some mistakes in the red zone; he also showed he was ready for primetime. Playing 76 percent of the defensive snaps, Rapp destroyed Hager in linebacker snaps and had a similar performance to the week before. There were points in the game where I thought to myself, “this secondary is so complete” and Taylor Rapp is a huge part of it. Before Rapp, Marqui Christian was the Rams’ go-to hybrid safety but he never got the shine that Rapp has already received in his young career. That speaks to Rapp’s talent and brains that he puts to work every Sunday.
Let’s get advanced for a second here. Through three weeks, Taylor Rapp has missed a total of one tackle. His missed tackle percentage is 5.9 percent, and he has allowed a passer rating of 68.5 when thrown to. Rapp has covered tight ends, running backs and he has roamed in the secondary, but his tackling and range have really impressed me most.
Yes, Rapp is the future of the Los Angeles Rams secondary. A potential future starting secondary of John Johnson III, Taylor Rapp, Marcus Peters, NRC, and David Long Jr is tantalizing and I believe the Rams have hit on another potential star.
……So T. Rapp, continue doing what you’re doing, continue to fly across the field and give the vets in the secondary a breath of fresh air. In the future, be the face of the back-end and be a part of a top safety duo in the league. Make your mark, you’re already off to a great start.
Downtown Rams TWITTER
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