NFL.com tabs Taylor Rapp as Rams' key homegrown player in 2020

As part of an offseason exercise for NFL.com earlier this month, Around the NFL editor Gregg Rosenthal examined key homegrown players still on their rookie contracts "who could make an enormous impact by taking a leap in his development in 2020."

For the Rams, Rosenthal believes that player is second-year safety Taylor Rapp.

"A 2019 second-round pick who showed quickly that the NFL wasn't too fast for him, Rapp played with great instincts and aggression when used as a third safety early in the season," Rosenthal wrote as part of his analysis.

When John Johnson III suffered a season-ending shoulder injury six weeks into the 2019 campaign, Los Angeles elevated Rapp to a starting role that he would keep for the remainder of his rookie season.

The former Washington star made 100 total tackles by the end of his first year, good for third-most on the team. Graded by scouting service Pro Football Focus as Los Angeles' fourth-best tackler at its Week 9 bye, Rapp improved to third-best with an 81.3 tackling grade after Week 17.

Rapp is slated to start alongside Johnson in Brandon Staley's defense following Eric Weddle's retirement, as Rosenthal pointed out, and Johnson expressed excitement about that possibility earlier this offseason.

"I think (our skillsets) complement each other well. I think we both can do a lot of things," Johnson said in early April. "With the new defensive coordinator, we'll be a lot more versatile. I also think Taylor Rapp is a little more versatile than he thinks he is, so we're going to have to get that out of him. But I think it will be fun."

For Rosenthal's full explanation as well as his picks for the rest of the NFC, click here.

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