The 2019 NFL Draft will be a great event for teams to start building for their future. The Game Haus will be doing scouting reports on some of the top prospects in the 2019 NFL Draft. Washington safety Taylor Rapp was seen as one of the best safeties going into the 2018 college football season and was able to play up to that billing, setting him up for the 2019 NFL Draft.
2018 stats: 58 total tackles, five tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions, four passes defended, three forced fumble recoveries
Size: 6-foot, 208 pounds
Rapp was a standout on one of the best secondaries in college football at Washington over the last three seasons. He has now positioned himself nicely to be in the running for the first safety selected in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Although he didn’t start the season in the starting lineup as a freshman in 2016, Rapp was able to break through and start 10 games. His play helped the Huskies reach the College Football Playoffs, where they lost to Alabama. As a sophomore, Rapp cemented his status as one of college football’s best safeties and was named All-Pac-12 First Team after helping the Huskies get to the Fiesta Bowl. For his Junior season, Rapp was named a first-team All-American as he led Washington to the Rose Bowl. He decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
No safeties have stuck out above the rest in the 2019 NFL Draft, with no sure-fire first rounders in the class. With that, Rapp could be the first one selected, but he may have to wait until the second day of the draft to hear his name called.
Rapp is one of the best tacklers in the draft class and definitely among the elite as far as safeties go. He rarely misses tackles, making it almost a sure thing if he gets his hands on a ball carrier. Not only is he a sure tackler, but he also has the ability to lay down some big hits, as he plays downhill.
His tackling is a huge asset to one of his other great strengths, his run support. He can play in the box if asked to because he can shed blocks then make plays on the ball carrier. If he plays deep it sometimes takes a second for him to get going, but he flies downhill to make plays on the ball when he is sure about where the ball is going.
He will not often give up big plays as a deep safety. Rapp lines up really deep, sometimes as much as 15 yards from the line of scrimmage. He is diligent in making sure no one gets behind him when playing a deep zone.
If Rapp is asked to cover in man to man, it could give him some issues at the next level. He wasn’t often asked to play man to man at Washington, but in the NFL he may not have that luxury. Rapp will have to prove he has the anticipation and quickness to mirror receivers as they go in and out of their breaks.
While Rapp is very sure to not let up a big play in deep coverage, this also limits him from making plays. He is at times too conservative, meaning that offenses can dink and dunk against his defense as he is too far away from the play to help out.
His ball skills also aren’t great for a safety that is viewed as a potential day one pick. This partially has to do with his positioning, as he plays too deep to truly make a play on the ball. This also has to do with his lack of closing speed and, if he does get in the area, getting his hands on the football.
Projected Draft Range: First round-Third round