During their 3-0 start, the Los Angeles Rams have a safety who is tied for the team lead in solo tackles. Despite this, one Bleacher Report analyst referred to Taylor Rapp as a “weak link” who suggested he “should be benched immediately.” ”
In an article published on Wednesday, September 29 titled “1 Player Every NFL Team Must Bench Immediately,” B/R writer Alex Kay identified the third-year safety as the player who should be benched.
This is the same Rapp who has amassed the following stats: 23 total tackles (tied for second with fellow safety Jordan Fuller), 0 sacks. 5 sacks (the only safety in the sack category), one pass deflection, and 17 solo tackles (tied with Kenny Young and Darious Williams for the team lead).
What B/R Said About Rapp
So Kay and B/R aren’t basing their case for keeping Rapp in the starting lineup on Rapp’s stats. Rather, they focused on his Pro Football Focus rating.
Here’s what Kay wrote:
“The strength of the Los Angeles Rams has been in their defense these last few seasons. The unit has some of the league’s best players on that side of the ball and ranked No. 1 last year, but it still has weak links.
One of those is free safety Taylor Rapp. He was thrust into the starting lineup this year, replacing John Johnson III after the star signed with the Browns in the offseason.
Rapp, a second-round pick in 2019, hasn’t performed at a high level. He’s earned a cumulative 56.2 PFF grade after recording 23 tackles, one QB hit and one pass deflection while playing 100 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.
Considering that the Rams have an intriguing second-year safety in Terrell Burgess waiting in the wings, Rapp must play better or risk losing playing time to his backup.”
It’s still a mystery why Rapp is sitting on the silver. Rapp may have a low PFF grade (
). But here’s something else from his PFF profile that was left out:
- Rapp has yet to allow a touchdown pass to his team in three games, according to the analytics site.
- In 207 total defensive snaps, the safety has only missed three tackles (one in each game). Rapp has been targeted 15 times for a total of 155 yards and 11 catches. Rob Gronkowski was targeted twice up Rapp’s side in the 34-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the Ram as the closest defender, the All-Pro TE didn’t catch a single pass.
If anything, Rapp’s coverage has improved, as he’s gone from allowing 20 yards against Chicago to 50 yards in a road win at Indianapolis to five catches for 85 yards in the Bucs’ win. In 145 coverage plays, he’s only given up two plays longer than 20 yards. Rapp goes for the ankles near the 8:20 mark of this highlight video in this touchdown-saving stop against T.B.
Not the First Time B/R Mentioned Rapp
Have to wonder if B/R has something against the 23-year-old safety. It’s not the first time Rapp’s name has been mentioned in a negative light by a national publication.
B/R writer Brad Gagnon mentioned Rapp as a possible trade partner for Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Andre Dillard on August 19. The transaction was never completed. Still, with Rapp in the starting lineup and the 6-foot, 208-pounder stepping up to disrupt plays near the line of scrimmage, the Rams are winning. He’s proven to be a reliable tackler, and he plays on a defense where he’s not expected to do everything, given the presence of All-Pros Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, as well as Sebastian Joseph-Day and Leonard Floyd in the front seven. Clean Bowled News