Taylor Rapp 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Taylor Rapp
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 30: Washington Huskies defensive back Taylor Rapp (21) watches the play during the Fiesta Bowl college football game between the Penn State Nittany Lions and the Washington Huskies on December 30, 2017 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Overview
Position: Safety
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 207 pounds
School: Washington Huskies

Taylor Rapp 2019 NFL Draft Profile

Washington’s secondary was one of the better units in college football, and Taylor Rapp was a big reason for that success. Playing in 13 games as a junior, Rapp finished his 2018 campaign with four sacks, 58 tackles, two interceptions, and four passes defended. His impressive play earned him a spot on the First-Team All-Pac-12 team.

Rapp initially arrived at Washington as a three-star recruit, but immediately outplayed that billing. Appearing in 13 games as a freshman, the safety recorded 51 tackles, four interceptions, and two passes defended. His stellar play guided Washington to the 2016 Pac-12 Championship Game, and Rapp saved his best work for last. The first-year safety recorded two interceptions in the contest, returning one for a touchdown and earning MVP honors. After the season, Rapp earned Pac-12 Freshman Player of the Year and Freshman All-American by FWAA, USA Today, ESPN, and PFF.

Rapp proved that his impressive freshman year wasn’t a one-year fluke with another strong season in 2017. Appearing in 13 games, Rapp recorded 59 tackles, two sacks, and one interception throughout the season. While he didn’t have the same impressive finish like 2016, Rapp still managed to earn a First-Team All-Pac-12 selection for his stellar play.

Strengths

  • Hard-hitting safety capable of making plays in the run game;
  • Strong, consistent tackler;
  • A versatile player capable all along the defensive formation;
  • An effective blitzer capable of beating his man and chasing down the quarterback;
  • Has size to play pseudo-linebacker when required;
  • Decent in coverage against tight ends and isn’t overpowered by their physicality.

Weaknesses

  • Lack of range limits ability to play single-high safety;
  • Hesitant when playing zone coverage and doubts his instincts;
  • Oftentimes goes to deliver a big hit instead of breaking up the pass;
  • Lateral mobility leaves a lot to be desired;
  • Ball skills notably decreased from his freshman year.

NFL Comparison: Patrick Chung

Teams With Need at Position: New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, New Orleans Saints, Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Projection: Round two

Bottom Line

Taylor Rapp is built to be an NFL strong safety. The Washington product was one of the best safeties in the Pac-12 throughout his collegiate career, and he should carry that success into the NFL. Rapp is a ferocious run defender who rarely misses tackles. He’s a great blitzer capable of getting to the quarterback and is capable of holding up in man coverage against tight ends. His versatility might be his greatest asset, as he has the skill set to split time across the defense.

Rapp has a lot going for him, but he isn’t a perfect prospect. He’s significantly better against the run than the pass, especially in zone coverage. While he can play split coverage at an adequate level, he doesn’t have the sideline-to-sideline speed to play single-high. Additionally, he doesn’t trust his reflexes when back deep and oftentimes goes for the big hit instead of breaking up the pass. His six career passes defended are telling, and his ball skills have decreased since his freshman season. Rapp should be a borderline day one starter, depending on which team drafts him. If given a specialized role as a box safety, Rapp should be ready to contribute right out of the gate.

Main photo:
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