The Rams started off the 2019 NFL draft by trading back multiple times in hopes of accumulating draft picks later in the draft and for the coming years. By doing so they were able to make eight overall selections, five on the offense and three on the defense.
After watching the film on all of the draft picks there were two players that stood out among the rest. Unsurprisingly, these were the first two sections the Rams made. The players are safety Taylor Rapp from Washington and running back Darrell Henderson from Memphis.
Taylor Rapp – Washington
Taylor Rapp was the 61st overall pick selected in the second round and the Rams were more than excited to select him where they did. Rapp is a hybrid safety that can play both the run and pass very effectively. Rapp is outspoken and intense and plays with a very high motor. However, he backs up his intensity with incredible on-field performance. On many occasions, Rapp is found making a play near the line of scrimmage which is rare for a safety. He is known for his big hits but also for his tackling ability.
In his three-year college career, Rapp only missed 12 total tackles which gave him a career tackling efficiency rating of 14.7 which was 7th among all safeties in the NCAA. Rapp finished his career with 168 tackles in 39 games and added on 6 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss.
On top of stopping the run, Rapp is equally effective in coverage. In this past season, Taylor Rapp lead all Pac 12 defenders with opposing quarterbacks having a rating of 12 when targeting him in coverage. Rapp finished his career with 7 interceptions and 6 pass deflections and although he wasn’t targeted as often as most defensive backs, he made the plays when he needed to. This is supported by Pro Football Focus giving him an 89.8 coverage grade which lead all Pac 12 safeties.
You pair that with a 90.7 run defense grade (4th among all FBS safeties) and you have yourself one of the most versatile and dominant defensive backs in the entire draft. Not only will Rapp make an impact for the Rams this season but he will be a staple of the Rams defense for years to come.
Darrell Henderson – Memphis
The other draft pick for the Rams that stood out among the rest is none other than running back Darrell Henderson from Memphis. Since he wasn’t from a power 5 conference, many NFL fans do not know much about Darrell Henderson but they should. In his three-year career at Memphis, Henderson rushed for 3,545 yards on just 431 carries. If you do the math that gives Henderson a whopping 8.2 yards per carry which as it stands is the NCAA career record. The best part about Henderson is he improved significantly each year. He had 482 yards his freshman season, 1,154 yards his sophomore season, and a ridiculous 1,909 yards is his junior year which was second in the entire NCAA.
Part of what makes Henderson so great is his speed and explosiveness. In his most recent season Henderson had 43 carries of 15-plus yards as well as 11 rushing touchdowns that were over 54 yards! He has great speed that is supported by a 4.49sec 40-yard dash but his game acceleration makes him appear even faster. However, Henderson is not just a home run threat.
In this past season Henderson averaged 6.16 yards per carry AFTER contact as well as 57 missed tackles forced. Darrell Henderson has the skill set and athletic ability to not just be a good player in the NFL but possibly a superstar. The Rams may have lost CJ Anderson in the off-season but they drafted a running back who can more than take over Anderson’s role and add another weapon to an already loaded Rams offense. It will be a lot of fun watching the combo of Gurley and Henderson tear up defenses this upcoming season!
Featured Image: Matt Miller/Bleacher Report