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Huard: How you can make a case for Seahawks to draft UW Huskies safety Taylor Rapp

At least one mock NFL Draft has the Seahawks picking UW Huskies safety Taylor Rapp. (AP)

In a recent mock draft from Bleacher Report, it was predicted that the Seattle Seahawks would go local with their first pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.

What’s the draft stock for UW’s Rapp, Murphy after NFL combine?

The Seahawks own the No. 21 pick in the first round of April’s annual draft, where NFL Draft expert Matt Miller has Seattle picking UW Huskies safety and Sehome (Bellingham) High School product Taylor Rapp, who is coming off an impressive NFL Scouting Combine showing where he posted the best 20-yard shuttle time by a safety since 2016.

How realistic is the possibility of the Seahawks picking Rapp, though? Brock Huard answered that in Wednesday’s Blue 42 segment of 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock and Salk. Let’s dig in to what he had to say.

The hurdle

The biggest issue that could prevent the Seahawks from adding Rapp at No. 21 is that they’re probably not going to be picking at that spot, and Rapp has vaulted into the first round in more than just the one mock draft.

“He was outside of mock drafts before this combine, and then (NFL teams) see the physical nature, then they hear the makeup, then they do a little bit more due diligence, and because of his versatility he might find himself in the first round,” Huard said.

Seattle is going into the draft with just four selections to its name, and general manager John Schneider, who is already known for trading down in the draft, almost certainly will do so again to add more picks this year.

The good news, however, is that Rapp might be available late into the round and maybe even early in the second round.

“If you’re going to draft him, 21’s probably a bit high,” Huard said.

This is where it gets interesting.

Making the case

Should the Seahawks trade down from No. 21, they might be able to add picks and still get Rapp. And that’s something that intrigues Huard.

“If they trade down from 21 to 25 and maybe 25 to 32 or something like that, and Taylor Rapp is still on the board, I’ll make a case for him,” Huard said. “Because he’s not just a safety. Because in today’s NFL, you better be able to play a multitude of spots. You don’t want to pay your nickel corner, you don’t want to pay (free agent cornerback) Justin Coleman? This guy’s got enough short-area quickness to play the nickel slot position. You want to rush the passer? This was one of (Washington’s) best sackers. You want (Rapp) to come down and cover tights ends? You want him to come down and play in the box? You want to get even more creative in some of your nickel packages?”

Those are all areas where Huard believes the Seahawks could make use of Rapp.

So why else could the 6-foot, 208-pound Rapp be high up on the Seahawks’ draft board?

“His feet, his quickness are phenomenal. His ball skills, second to none. Those are things that this (Seahawks) staff in particular looks for,” Huard said. “You got something unique? You are awfully, awfully quick for your size and strength. Can you play legitimately in the nickel? Can you legitimately play in the box? Can you legitimately play safety for us?

“When you can put that hat on in a multitude of ways, I think you become a very, very valuable pick.”

When you talk about versatility and UW safeties, the name Budda Baker is bound to come up. Mike Salk asked Huard how Rapp compares to the Arizona Cardinals’ All-Pro.

“Not quite as fast, but bigger and just as quick,” Huard responded. “And as far as a ball hawk, well, we saw him from day one at Washington that guy can take the ball away.”

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