The long-awaited first pick of the 2019 NFL Draft for the Los Angeles Rams finally came at the 61st overall selection when the Rams selected former University of Washington safety Taylor Rapp.
Rapp was a First Team-All American in 2018 and got two First Team All-Pac 12 nods in his career as a key part of a vaunted Washington defense. The Huskies won two Pac 12 titles in his three years there. In 2018, Rapp logged seven interceptions, seven sacks and two forced fumbles over 13 games.
He is expected to get playing time in his rookie season, but will slot behind veteran free-agent acquisition Eric Weddle and established third-year player John Johnson III on the Rams’ safeties depth chart.
However, Rapp shows no bitterness towards not having a clear starting job in his new team. Rather, he seems excited to realize his lifelong dream of playing in the NFL with the chance to work alongside Weddle and Johnson, per Clarence Dennis of TheRams.com:
“I’ve dreamed of this moment my whole life, ever since I could walk — an unbelievable moment that I will remember for the rest of my life,” Rapp told the Los Angeles media minutes after his name was called. “I get to come in under obviously Eric Weddle — a vet — and John Johnson, he’s an incredible player. To come in and learn under them, it’s an incredible opportunity and the perfect scenario for me. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
The Rams signed Weddle, a longtime San Diego Chargers safety who most recently played with the Baltimore Ravens, to a two-year contract soon after free agency began in March. He will replace Lamarcus Joyner, who signed with the Oakland Raiders, as the Rams’ starting free safety. Weddle has made six Pro Bowls, including one in each of his past three seasons with the Ravens.
Johnson, a third-round pick by the Rams in 2017, worked his way into the team’s starting strong safety spot during his rookie year and has held onto it ever since. He made the game-sealing interception of Drew Brees in overtime of the NFC Championship game in January to send the Rams to their first Super Bowl in 15 years.