Saturday, August 10, 2019

Taylor Rapp Opens His NFL Career as both a Safety and Linebacker

By John Turney
Rams second-round (pick #61 overall) Taylor Rapp started tonights preseason game against the Raiders as a strong safety in place of usual and expected starter John Johnson. And like Johnson Rapp spent a good portion of his night as a linebacker.

In 2018 the Rams had two base defenses they employed, one with Johnson as a safety and another with Johnson as an inside linebacker with usual inside linebacker Cory Littleton moving to outside linebacker. Based on tonight's game only it appears the same scheme will be in place—two base defenses and then the sub-packages (nickel and dime).

When the starters return to lineups Eric Weddle and Johnson will be the safeties and then we will learn the role Rapp will have for the season. At this point, we don't know what the role will be, but after game one of the preseason do know from the film that he played Johnson's hybrid role from 2018—strong safety in one base, an inside linebacker in the alternate base. 

Johnson, however, was usually a safety in sub-packages (Mark Barron and Littleton were in ILBs in sub) and tonight, at least, we saw Rapp as a 'backer in sub defenses.

Early in the game, we see Rapp as a strong safety (feet near the 40-yard line)

Here Rapp is playing the MIKE position in base defense
Again here he is the MIKE, the player lined up over the slot is the SAM backer in a "walk" position

Here, Rapp is back at strong safety (SS)
Again, Rapp is at SS in base 3-4 defense

Here, Rap is at MIKE in base 3-4

Rapp, here is the SAM. The Will has dropped to a stacked WILL

This is Nickel with on WILL walked out but Rapp is the Mike

Nickel, Rapp at Mike

Nickel, Rapp at MIKE

Rapp at Mike, in nickel.

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