Taylor Rapp

PROS: Smart, aggressive player who fills multiple roles within the back seven. Recognizes running game flow and misdirection very quickly and regularly takes the correct angles to attack offensive concepts; does well to retain leverage when approaching tackles to defend the weakest area of the field/turn runners back into help. When taking on blocks, especially kick-out blocks as EMLOS defender, deconstructs and wins leverage with excellent physicality for a safety. Is a sure space tackler and devastating close-quarters hitter alike. Breaks down with a wide base and low hips to tackle, regularly getting his head across his target’s waist and wrapping through the hips. Has impressive gear down ability when flying to the runner and excels at making difficult, flexible tackles on elusive runners. Tracks very well and will adjust angles effortlessly. Seeks out scrums and looks to punish, but protects his head on contact. Forced multiple fumbles with hustle plays to wrapped-up runners, getting his helmet into the football when other safeties wouldn’t have even gotten involved on the hit. Has success as a man cover corner from the slot. Good step frequency and short area burst allow him to stay connected through breaks; willing and more than capable of playing with physicality through the stem to redirect. Can handle tight end size and slot receiver shiftiness. Short zone work also technically sound: reads the quarterback and understands half-field route concepts to stay disciplined in his drops. Has true instincts to extend his zones to different routes circumstantially. Similarly disciplined as a deep middle defender as a result of his inherent understanding of leverage and spacing. Projects best as a box safety with interchangeability. CONS: Not overly rangy. Despite strong linear burst, top speed does not impress. Some tightness in the hips limits ability to turn corners with explosion, which gives him issues when flipping his hips to carry deep routes from the slot. Will take drop step when exploding, which only adds to the delay. Physical limitations in a straight line could force him into exclusively short zone responsibilities in the NFL, which would cap his efficacy as an interchangeable defensive piece. Does not have playmaking instinct; prefers to hit and tackle rather than play over the top for PBUs and/or INTs. Johnathan Abram PROS: Outstanding size and long speed for a safety. Moves fluidly in space and should have very little issue measuring up athletically. Good closing burst to the football. Range to make plays in the run game, even from deep safety position. When he sees it, comes downhill and fills the alley in a hurry. Glimpses of ability to stack/shed/slip blocks on perimeter. Takes on blocks with proper leverage to maintain gap discipline. Has good closing burst to the ball from off coverage, just needs to trust his instincts more. Physicality and effort do not appear to be issues.

CONS: Way too many missed tackles. Comes in out of control with too low of a target area. Missed four tackles vs. Alabama. Missed five against Louisville. Tries to go outside his frame for too many stops rather than running his feet through contact. Could benefit from tweaking his angle to the ball carrier’s midsection rather than his hip, which would also make his tackles more impactful. Lacks hitting power right now. Can be slow to see it and attack in coverage. Instincts and ball skills were questionable in 2017. Arrived too late to contest throwing windows much of the time. Inconsistent in his ability to handle blocks on perimeter, some great reps, other times he’ll get bodied. Didn’t see a ton of man coverage reps in games I watched, but struggled when he did. In catch-man, consistently failed to stay square and was easily manipulated by jab steps from savvy route runners in the slot. Good athlete, but not an exceptional one. Won’t be able to close separation from most receivers after a misstep in coverage.

– Credit: https://thedraftnetwork.com

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