Coverage Spacing -Uninspiring with his skills on the back end to play coverage. Severely limited by lack of COD and burst. Tight hips create headaches in transitions. More effective on targets in front of his face as compared to having to hinge and get width outside the numbers.
Acceleration -Pretty linear athlete, he does bring some juice but it's only when he's able to roll into his start and he's breaking forwards as a delayed blitzer or in open field pursuit: more issues arise when he has to collect his base or pivot.
Tackling -Ace tackler. His impact in run support can't be overstated. He's got quick closing burst thanks to effort and good angles to stay over the top of runs before breaking down but drops the hammer on folks when he's the first arriving defender.
Zone Coverage Skills -Will need to play robber to get effective reps out of him. Otherwise, was tasked with playing 15+ yards off the ball in single high. Pretty intelligent football player and did make some PBUs on the back end courtesy of anticipation, but will get torn apart if placed there in NFL.
Ball Skills -Doesn't have a lot of ball production courtesy of poor closing burst, although his hand-eye coordination is good on tipped balls to capitalize on potential turnovers in the intermediate areas of the field.
Competitive Toughness -Pretty awesome to see him come slashing in off the back-side in pursuit: his effort is excellent. Plays with a chip on his shoulder and can be chippy in the pile, he's got really stout pads and can be quite the imposing presence playing into short screens or the run.
Flexibility -Again, he's linear. No issues with dropping down the pads and coiling to throw hips through contact. But when he's tasked with reaching landmarks in zone drops or opening to turn and run with defenders, he labors to get himself there.
Feet/Change of Direction -There's hesitancy and almost a deliberate approach when he's forced to come to balance in space and then redirect, really robs him of any natural quickness he may have in this area. Isn't springy or sudden to shoot into an adjacent gap in blitz reps, either.
Man Coverage Skills -Not recommended for duties in the slot or in man to man coverage. He lacks short area quickness to mirror at the top of route stems and can be pretty flat footed in off coverage, allowing easy completions unless the opposing QB goofs.
Versatility -Won't have a lot of success if he's tasked with playing a deep role in the NFL. May be better suited to play nickel LB, thanks to physicality and skills in run support. Should be a special teams staple as well thanks to linear range, tackling and awareness in run fits.
BEST TRAIT - Tackling
WORST TRAIT - Coverage Spacing
BEST FILM - Utah (2018)
WORST FILM - Auburn (2018)
RED FLAGS - None
Taylor Rapp is a bit of a throwback, he has terrific skills in run support and it's easy to fall in love with his motor and splash plays in pursuit. But in coverage, Rapp presents several concerns, primarily surrounding his ability to cover the necessary ground to be an effective defender in either man or zone coverage. Rapp lacks mobility and short area change of direction skills, he's going to be a more effective presence in the box as compared to playing 12-15 yards off the ball.