Rams News: Taylor Rapp Discusses Most Challenging Part Of Rookie Season
Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports

For Los Angeles Rams safety Taylor Rapp, the 2019 NFL season was a whirlwind as he was thrust into a starting role much sooner than anticipated after John Johnson III suffered a shoulder injury that prematurely ended his season.

Rapp, who was selected No. 61 overall during the 2019 NFL Draft, made an immediate impact, proving to be effective at nearly every facet on the defensive side of the field. During his time at Washington, he was a steady tackler and that translated to the NFL as he did well limiting opponents from gaining extra yardage.

However, like all rookies, there was an adjustment period to professional football and he revealed some of those challenges in an interview with Sarina Morales of TheRams.com:

“I think the most challenging part was the beginning of the season, when I was still trying to find my way. As a rookie, it was hard to be thrown right into the fire and be a major contributor right from the get-go, but with the guidance and mentorship from guys like Eric [Weddle] and JJ [John Johnson], it made it as easy as it could be. About midway through the season and right around the bye week, I started feeling like my normal self (like back in college) and started to trust myself more and just playing instead of thinking and playing slow. I would say overcoming that first half of the season hump of getting more comfortable and back to my playing ways.”

Rapp appeared in 15 games last year, earning the start in 10 of them and proving to be a valuable contributor under former defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. He ended the season with 62 solo tackles and two interceptions, with one of them being returned for a touchdown in Week 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

Entering his second year, the Rams will need to lean on Rapp more as he and Johnson are expected to start under new defensive coordinator Brandon Staley. The safety showed plenty of promise in his first year and will now get an opportunity to showcase that he is a vital part of Los Angeles’ future.

However, there are several questions the Rams will need to answer ahead of the new season as they need to fill out the roster and find ways to stay in shape with the ongoing pandemic. With the rest of the NFC West only improving in the offseason, it will be a tough climb up for the Rams to get back to the postseason.