NAME: Taylor Rapp
CONFERENCE: PAC 12
WT: 212 lbs
Change of Direction/Hip Fluidity: Loose in the lower half. Can flip his hips in fluid process when changing directions. Quick to mirror his opponents movements in space as well. That said, movements of redirection aren’t overly explosive. Doesn’t possess the optimal closing burst to break on passes in front him. Can occasionally look clunky and lose his footing when doing so. Feet aren’t as quick as you would like them to be.
Tackling: Awesome tackler. Does a great job of squaring up his opponents in open the field. Consistently wraps up and drives through his opponents as well. PFF accounted for him missing only two tackles on the entire season! In terms of hit power, doesn’t have the frame or explosive skills to lay a consistent boom. However, if he gets a full head of steam coming down hill, he can inflict some damage.
Instincts: Instincts around the box are exceptional. Quick to sniff out run plays, screens, and shorts passes. Loves his initiative to attack the ball carrier in run lanes. Definitely not as instinctive in coverage. Doesn’t process route concepts down the field. Route recognition ability is still a work in progress. Because of this doesn’t make many plays on the ball in single high or robber roles.
Range: Doesn’t possess the side line to side line range to play single high. That said, can still meet ball carriers at pursuit angles against the run. But foot quickness just isn’t as effective in coverage. Speed is at it’s peak when coming down hill. Looks very explosive when blitzing. Should predominantly play in the box but could be relied upon in two high coverage as well.
Man Coverage: Very underrated part of his game. Results very good when covering Tight Ends and slot receivers. Illustrated the ability to be patient and disrupt opponents at the LOS. Does great job staying in receivers’ hip pockets once he established his jam as well. Might not have the juice to turn and run to cover deep threats, but is has more enough short area quickness to cover shiftier slots. Could get some looks at Nickel because of this.
Ball Skills: Makes most of his plays on the ball in man coverage. Just doesn’t illustrate a nose for the ball when his eyes are on the QB in zone. Also, lack of closing speed, range, and route recognition hurt him in this area.
Competitive Toughness: Physical player that enjoys to mix it up in the box. Not a lay the boom type of guy, but still brings an edge of toughness to his defense.
Best Trait: Tackling
Worst Trait: Range
Best Film: Oregon (2018)
Worst Film: Cal (2017)
Taylor Rapp projects favorably as a strong safety and also offers some versatility as a slot defender. His tackling skills, physicality, experience with blitzing, man coverage ability, and run instincts would be best utilized in the box. He should not be relied upon in single high because of his lack of range, ball skills, and closing speed. However, is more than capable of playing 2 high coverage.
A solid pro career would be reasonable to project for Rapp. His skill set definitely has some value in today’s NFL. Especially if he can keep ascending in man coverage. Yet, he doesn’t seem to possess any game changing traits to be an elite player at the next level.