Brock Huard’s 2019 NFL Draft preview: UW DB Taylor Rapp
Each weekday at 8:30 a.m. leading up to the NFL Draft, 710 ESPN Seattle’s Brock Huard will profile a prospect he considers to be a first-round possibility for the Seahawks. His previews continued Wednesday with University of Washington defensive back Taylor Rapp.
Listen to Huard’s full breakdown of Rapp in the audio clip embedded below.
• Position: S
• Height/weight: 6-0/208
• Class: Junior
• Hometown: Bellingham, WA
Scouting report: A three-year starter at Washington, Rapp finished his college career with 103 tackles, six sacks, seven interceptions and one touchdown – all without missing a single start. Versatility and open-field tackling were among his greatest strengths, according to NFL.com, while his speed remained a weakness.
Brock’s take: “Defensive back out of the University of Washington. And I think ‘defensive back’ is key, because I don’t think you can just pigeon-hole Taylor Rapp and say he’s a safety, he’s a free safety, he’s a strong safety, or he’s a nickel-back corner. He’s all those things. He’s also a guy that had four sacks last year for a Husky defense that desperately needed pass rush. It didn’t take long for Taylor Rapp to make all of us notice. We all remember the Pac-12 title game that put the Huskies in the national semi-final. It was really on Rapp’s shoulders that they got there.
“He’s been incredibly durable over his three years, did not miss a game of action. You just see it in the way he’s put together. Not a great Pro Day at Washington – in fact, a catastrophic pro day – but a tremendous combine. And if you remember from that combine, he had the fastest 20-yard shuttle, his technique and fundamentals out on the field during DB drills was off the charts, and the buzz after the combine was, ‘How high in the first round is this guy going to go?’
“I don’t think there’s any doubt the Seahawks like Taylor Rapp. But that 4.73 to 4.77 (40-yard dash) that he ran a couple weeks ago at his pro day has to scare the heck out of Pete Carroll… There are going to be a half a dozen or more teams that just take him off their draft board. In talking to a couple scouts, that’s the way it’s going to work. Team will simply say, ‘I’m sorry, a 4.7 as a safety in the NFL, I’m not even going to look at the durability and play-making, that speed is just too slow at this level’… and that will be their loss. I think when it comes to the Seahawks, or whoever ultimately takes Taylor Rapp in the second round, that will be their gain.
“I do think, looking back at his combine the year before with the Huskies, he was 4.57. If I’m going to make an excuse for him, as any great Husky is going to make an excuse for another Husky, it’ that he is so musclebound. I think he fell into this trap of, ‘If I’m going to play in the NFL, I need to put on all this muscle.’ And I think he got too musclebound. You don’t go from 4.5 to 4.7 unless you’re just too tight and you’re too bound. He was a 4.5 guy throughout his career at Washington, and if he’s a 4.5 guy teams take him in the first round. And I’m sorry, I just look at his picture and all I see is a New England Patriot. I look at their system; how they don’t just put guys on an island and how they minimize some speed deficiencies. The Huskies play the New England Patriots style. If Taylor Rapp’s not a Seahawk, I could see him as a Patriot for a long, long time.”
How he’d fit: Both of the Seahawks’ 2018 starting safeties – Bradley McDougald and Tedric Thompson – are set to return in 2018, and vying to compete for starting time are Delano Hill and Shalom Luani. But it never hurts to have another option, particularly in a group that, outside of McDougald, remains young and unproven. However, the Seahawks are widely expected to trade back into the second round, and it’s unlikely Rapp would last long after the first.