Dallas Cowboys: The case for Taylor Rapp in the 2019 NFL draft

The Dallas Cowboys’ first pick of the 2019 NFL draft is all the way at the end of the second round. However, safety Taylor Rapp would be a steal.

The Dallas Cowboys do not hold a first-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft (traded the first-round pick to Raiders for Amari Cooper). The organization’s first pick is late in the second round, 58th overall.

Even though they do not have a top-50 pick, they can grab the safety out of Washington, Taylor Rapp. The junior safety is projected to go somewhere in the second and third rounds.

The Cowboys’ defense turned a lot of heads last year, but have plenty of room for improvement. Two positions in particular that need to be upgraded are safety and defensive tackle.

The duo of Jeff Heath and Xavier Woods built chemistry and found some rhythm as the year went on. But, against the Los Angeles Rams in the Divisional round, both were exposed. Woods, entering only the third year of his career is just going to keep on getting better–especially with great coaching from Kris Richard.

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Heath, on the other hand, is entering his seventh year and his progression has plateaued. Over the course of his career, he plays more consistent in the backup role.

Luckily for the Cowboys, Rapp could be a plug-and-play starter at strong safety. He has the instincts to play the deep third of the field, the quickness to play man to man in the slot, and the physicality to settle down in the box and stop the run. He is very versatile– a common trait amongst Cowboys’ defenders.

Physicality is never the question with Rapp. The only knock on the player is that he does not have elite range–meaning that he cannot make up yardage on the field and get in position to make plays on the ball. But, this is not 100 percent truthful. He has the speed and explosion to carry defenders down the field. He just has to get a better feel on when to turn his hips and run.

Rapp also has a large number of turnovers on his resume. In three years at Washington, Rapp recorded seven interceptions, two forced fumbles, and six pass deflections. Dallas has struggled to get takeaways. Rapp has the potential to hold the Kam Chancellor role for the Cowboys.

This pick would give Richard another young defender with large upside. Whether the Cowboys have a bigger need at tight end or defensive end than they do a safety is up for debate. Nonetheless, in the first three rounds, a team is just looking for players to come straight in and make a difference.

Taylor Rapp is that difference maker.

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