NFL teams tend to prefer that their safeties are fast, as in a 4.5-second maximum clocking in the 40-yard dash.
That was what made the 4.76 that Taylor Rapp ran at the University of Washington’s recent pro day raise more than a few eyebrows with analysts that had projected him as a first-round pick in the NFL Draft.
‘I’m a completely different person once you put the pads and helmet on’
Rapp doesn’t believe there should be any concern about his NFL worthiness because of a time that caught many off-guard, including him.
“I’m not a 40-yard dash specialist, I’m a football player,” Rapp told Bruce Murray and Brady Quinn on the SiriusXM Blitz. “… I’m not an underwear Olympics specialist. … I’m a completely different person once you put the pads and helmet on.”
‘I was more surprised, confused than anything’
Nevertheless, Rapp did acknowledge that the pro day 40 time was a source of frustration. “I was more surprised, confused than anything, because I don’t think I’ve run a 4.7 since I was in high school,” he said.
“I’m never one to make an excuse, but I’ll just say turn on the tape and the tape speaks for itself. I play fast, I’m never out of position.”
Rapp said that during the training he has done in the past three months at the EXOS Athletes’ Performance Institute in Phoenix – including preparation for the NFL Scouting Combine – he was “tracking 4.5, slowest 4.6, even on a laser time, not even hand time like at the pro day.”
‘Even after the combine, pre-pro day, I was tracking 4.5, the slowest was low 4.6s’
“Anybody can go talk to the trainers out there, and they’ll tell you the same thing,” Rapp said. “And then even after the combine, pre-pro day, I was tracking 4.5, the slowest was low 4.6s. I don’t know. It is what it is, I ran what I ran. There’s nothing I can do about it now.
“I’m never one to make an excuse, but I’ll just say turn on the tape and the tape speaks for itself. I play fast, I’m never out of position. I’m always making tackles, never missing a tackle, never getting beat, never out of position. So I would just say look at the tape … I think that’s all that matters.”
‘I have no expectations at all going into the draft’
Rapp insisted he has no expectations on where he’ll be selected.
“It’s all out of my control,” he said. “I’m doing what I can do right now in the whole pre-draft process, and I’m really just controlling what I can control and then letting the football gods or the teams, obviously, do what they need to do. But I have no expectations at all going into the draft.
‘There can be a lot of surprises on Draft Day’
“I’ve heard many stories of people who who think they’re going to go or supposed to go early first round, and then don’t end up going until late first round or early second round. I mean, there can be a lot of surprises on Draft Day, so I have no expectations at all.”
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