Green Bay Packers: Washington safety Taylor Rapp film study

Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images
Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images /

The Green Bay Packers need an upgrade at the safety position this offseason, and they could find that upgrade in the form of Taylor Rapp out of Washington.

The Green Bay Packers have a need for a playmaking safety or two on the back-end. They would be smart to address that need in free agency with how deep the group is, but they should look to a player in the draft as well. One player in particular that they could look to target is Taylor Rapp out of Washington. Rapp has the ability to play the single-high safety role, and he is also willing to come down and play the run.

Similar to Landon Collins, currently of the New York Giants, Rapp is that combo safety that can help you in multiple aspects. He does a good job clearing the quarterback on the read option, and he breaks on the runner and hits him in the hole. Some defensive backs are hesitant to take on opposing running backs, but that doesn’t apply to Rapp. He’s always willing to go down and make that tackle.

Another exciting aspect of Rapp’s game is his ability to blitz the passer. He doesn’t get home for the sack on this play, but he does put a pretty decent spin move for a defensive back on the opposing tackle. His pressure ultimately forces the passer to get rid of the ball before he is ready, and it forces an incomplete pass. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine likes to use his players in versatile ways, and Rapp perfectly fits that bill.

The Green Bay Packers were burned repeatedly last year with Kentrell Brice on the back-end. He often looked lost in coverage, and that’s another reason they need a major upgrade this offseason. Due to Washington’s scheme, Rapp would often line up as the deep safety, but he can also play in the slot at times. This versatility allows Pettine to throw different looks at opposing offenses to slow them down.

While he lined up super deep, he had one issue that caused him some trouble. He doesn’t break on the ball particularly quick, and plays could often end before he was to ever come into the frame on the film. For true deep safeties, you have to be an elite athlete or have excellent instincts to make an impact while playing that deep. Rapp doesn’t have those qualities in his arsenal.

Like I mentioned before, Rapp isn’t an elite athlete, but he does have some good speed, and he has the ability to run with wide receivers. One route that has given Packer defensive backs issues in the past is the drag route across the field. Whether the receiver runs them into other defenders or creates a screen with other receivers, they don’t always sift through it. Rapp is able to do that on this play which helps force the coverage sack.

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Rapp could be an option for them in the third round, but it would be a reach for them to target him in the second. He gives them a versatile playmaker on the back-end of the defense that Pettine would love to put into his system. Safety is one of the bigger needs for the Green Bay Packers, and they need to target that need with multiple assets this offseason. If they added Rapp into the mix, he would be an easy upgrade over the players that had at that position last season.