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2019 Los Angeles Rams roster preview: S Taylor Rapp adds playmaking depth to secondary

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Can the 2nd-round pick carve out a consistent role in his rookie season?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 61st overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams selected S Taylor Rapp out of Washington. The pick was the Rams’ highest in two years. So although LA traded down twice to land their man (who many had a first round grade on), his arrival doesn’t come without expectations.

At UW, Rapp was a very versatile, instinctive player. He was effective near the line of scrimmage (59 tackles, six for loss, five sacks his Junior year) and in coverage (two INTs, five pass breakups and three fumble recoveries). While not the most fluid athlete, Rapp displayed a real nose for the football and toughness playing through a broken hand as a Freshman. Plus, the kid can bring the hammer.

Roster Battle

No way the Rams draft a guy at 61 to sit him, so expect a pretty clear path ahead of guys like S Marqui Christian (roster preview), S Nick Scott (roster preview), S Steven Parker (roster preview), S Jake Gervase (roster preview) and S/ILB Travin Howard (roster preview).

And it’s probably not accurate to describe the balance Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips has to find between Rapp, S John Johnson III and S Eric Weddle as a roster battle for training camp.

Expectations

Rapp is in many ways an ideal fit for LA as he’ll look to make an impact as a down safety in subpackages year one and eventually replace Weddle down the line. I’d expect him to take over Christian’s role this year and perhaps also chip in at ILB in the hybrid role vacated by Mark Barron.

Under Huskies Head Coach Chris Petersen, UW has been churning out top-flight DB talent,(Full disclosure: I’m a UW alum) and Rapp’s resume puts him in fine company on a list that includes S Budda Baker, CB Sidney Jones, CB Kevin King and our very own CB Marcus Peters. Rapp’s authority as a striker and ballhawk mentality give him a chance to be special.

Chances of making the final roster (10/10)

He’s not going anywhere.