American Football

Taylor Rapp’s one year deal with Bills reveals Rams management mishap

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NFL: Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Chargers
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Rapp did not live up to his 2019 second round selection

On Monday morning, the Rams lost another member of their Super Bowl LVI team with safety Taylor Rapp electing to head east to play for the AFC East, Buffalo Bills.

In 2019 NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Rams were scheduled to pick 31st overall, following their Super Bowl LIII run. The Rams owned that pick heading into draft night but elected to trade down with Atlanta Falcons and two more times subsequently with the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs. With their first pick in the 2019 draft, the Rams selected Taylor Rapp. After four frustrating years with Los Angeles, I and many fans want to know why that was the Rams decision in April of 2019…

Trade #1 Details

Atlanta Falcons receive:

– 31st overall pick

– 203rd overall pick

Los Angeles Rams receive:

– 45th overall pick

– 79th overall pick

Once again, Les Snead and Sean McVay were content with trading down, electing this time to negotiate with the New England Patriots.

Trade Details

New England Patriots receive:

– 45th overall pick

Los Angeles Rams receive:

– 56th overall pick

– 101st overall pick

For a third consecutive time, the Rams traded down in attempt to stockpile picks. This time Kansas City and Los Angeles ironed out a deal…

Trade Details

Kansas City Chiefs receive:

– 56th overall pick

Los Angeles Rams receive:

– 61st overall pick

– 167th overall pick

Finally, at the end of the second round, the Rams turned in their draft card to select the University of Washington safety.

Looking back at the draft, the Rams passed on players such as: wide receivers Deebo Samuel, AJ Brown, and DK Metcalf, offensive tackle, Jawaan Taylor, running back Tony Pollard, safety CJ Gardner Johnson, and defensive linemen Dre’Mont Jones and Maxx Crosby.

All were players at positions the Rams later drafted or highly value to begin with. So why did the Rams trade down so much? I believe the answer lies in the philosophy of the Rams management. The LA war room overvalued Taylor Rapp’s college production in comparison to his athleticism translating to the NFL level.

According to NFL NexGen Stats, Rapp scored a 91 (1st overall among safeties) on his production. However, his athleticism scored at a 51, ranking below average (24th among safeties in the draft).

For four straight years the Rams continued to hyperfocus on Rapp’s production rather than his natural play-making ability. Except his production was only average at best amongst his position. The safety earned PFF grades of 63.3, 67.5, 65.5, and 76.2 from 2019-2022. For a player selected in the second round, that’s not the type of grade I want to see especially after trading out of the first round and trading back two additional times. Were the Rams just dead set on taking Taylor Rapp from the beginning? Or did they have players, such as Montez Sweat or Darnell Savage on their board selected shortly before pick #31? I guess we will never know the answer…

Rapp never made a significant jump when on the field, if anything he regressed after his rookie year. In his last two years, he allowed eight touchdowns and allowed 81 completions on 111 targets (73 comp %). After being a sure tackler in his rookie campaign, he missed 21 tackles over his final 42 games. Even when the Rams were out of playoff contention, Raheem Morris elected to continue starting the safety rather than giving more playing time to Jordan Fuller, Russ Yeast, and Quentin Lake who are all under contract with the team in 2023.

At the end of the day, the Bills signing Taylor Rapp to a cheap one-year deal proves that Rapp was not considered an above average safety in the NFL. His market was projected to be significant, but there were not many teams that lined up at the door…

Was the draft selection of Taylor Rapp, the first domino to fall in a series of draft blunders because of talent evaluation and philosophy? There have been similar issues with draft failures in Darrell Henderson, David Long Jr, Bobby Evans, and Terrell Burgess to name a recent few…

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