Washington defensive back Taylor Rapp runs a drill at the NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Washington defensive back Taylor Rapp runs a drill at the NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Former UW defensive backs impress at NFL Scouting Combine

Byron Murphy and Bellingham native Taylor Rapp are steadily progressing up NFL draft boards.

By Bob Condotta

The Seattle Times

The NFL combine concluded Monday with the defensive backs taking part in the 40-yard dash and other on-field drills.

But for the two University of Washington defensive backs who many view as possible first- or second-round draft choices — cornerback Byron Murphy and safety Taylor Rapp — the real work already had been done.

Rapp, in fact, decided not to run the 40, so he was basically invisible on the NFL Network coverage Monday (Rapp missed the Rose Bowl with a hip injury and might have wanted more time before running — the NFL Network reported he will run the 40 at UW’s Pro Day on April 1). Rapp, though, did take part in other on-field drills, and turned in the best short-shuttle time for all safeties at 3.99 seconds.

But Rapp already had made a big statement by being measured earlier in the week at 5 feet, 113⁄4 inches and 208 pounds compared to his UW listing of 6 feet, 202 pounds, helping soothe any concerns of his size.

And according to WalterFootball.com, Rapp also shined in interviews with teams — which included the Seahawks (more on that in a minute). Wrote WalterFootball of Rapp: “In speaking to sources at five teams, they thought that Rapp would, at worst, be a second-round pick. A couple of teams had him graded as a late first-round, early second-round pick. Rapp has impressed evaluators with his play but also his makeup. ‘I think he’ll go higher second, and possibly late one because he is so clean and a top character guy,’ said one NFC general manager. He is one of the hardest-working and smart players in the draft. Yes, he has some limited tools, but some team teams prefer safe picks in that range.”

Could the Seahawks be one of those teams?

How big of a need the Seahawks view their safety position is hard to tell — coach Pete Carroll has raved about 2017 draft choices Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson, and Bradley McDougald has two years left on his contract.

But Seattle was interested enough in Rapp to talk to him during the combine, Rapp said Sunday.

“Man, it would be a dream come true,” Rapp said of potentially playing for the Seahawks. “Any team that gives me a chance to play, I’m jumping on that. That’s all I’m asking for.”

But given that he grew up in Bellingham and attended UW, Rapp says the Seahawks would be a really nice fit.

“I grew up watching the Seahawks defense back in the day — Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman,” he said. “That’s what made me fall in love with defense. They motivated me, and my game, and my intensity on the field.”

Murphy took part in on-field drills Monday and ran a 4.55 40, which was 25th among cornerbacks.

But maybe more significant was that Murphy weighed in earlier in the week at 190 pounds, 15 more than his listed UW playing weight of 175.

NFL Network analyst Charles Davis said that NFL teams can sometimes be skeptical of players who gain weight for the combine wondering how it will impact other parts of their game.

But Davis said Murphy showed in the on-field drills that won’t be an issue.

“In this case it’s only worked out well for Byron Murphy,” Davis said. “He’s going to get more comfortable carrying that weight.”

Hall of Fame cornerback-turned-NFL-Network-analyst Deion Sanders didn’t seem too impressed with many of the cornerbacks during the on-field drills Monday. But Murphy caught his attention.

“He’s had a decent day today,” Sanders said, which passed for high praise from Sanders on Monday.

Washington cornerback Jordan Miller also took part in the on-field drills and turned in a 4.49-second 40, which was 16th among cornerbacks. Miller generally is considered a likely third-day choice (meaning rounds 4-7).

Miller measured at 6 feet, 5⁄8 inches and 186 pounds compared to his UW listing of 6 feet, 180 pounds.

One player who has been thought a possible Seahawks target, cornerback Greedy Williams of Louisiana State, turned in the second-fastest time for any cornerback at 4.37, which might solidify his status as the top cornerback available. Seattle hasn’t taken a cornerback higher than the third round in the Carroll/John Schneider era, but some have wondered if Williams might be too enticing to pass up if he’s there at 21.

Williams tied for the second-fastest cornerback with Clemson’s Mark Fields, a player with a local lineage. Fields is the son of former Washington State linebacker Mark Fields, who was the 1994 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as the leader of WSU’s “Palouse Posse” defense.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Sports

Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for Feb. 26-March 3

The Athlete of the Week nominees for Feb. 26-March 3. Voting closes… Continue reading

Silvertips prove they can contend with WHL’s best

Everett slugged it out with Eastern Conference contender Moose Jaw in an entertaining 8-7 shootout loss over the weekend.

Glacier Peak’s Jo Lee (2) shoots the ball during a 4A semifinal game between Glacier Peak and Richland at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Glacier Peak fell, 70-59. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Five locals named to state basketball all-tournament teams

Everett senior Alana Washington and King’s sophomore Kaleo Anderson led the way with first-team selections.

Seattle Mariners' Dominic Canzone looks for a pitch during a spring training baseball game against the Oakland Athletics, Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Peoria, Ariz. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
Dominic Canzone ranks high on the list of Mariners’ top breakout candidates

The team is bullish on the bulked-up outfielder’s abilities.

FILE - Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Dec. 16, 2023, in Detroit. The Broncos told Wilson, Monday, March 4, 2024, that they are going to release him next week, just 18 months after signing the Super Bowl-winning quarterback to a five-year, $242 million contract extension. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)
Broncos inform Russell Wilson they’ll release him

Denver will take a record $89 million hit in dead cap charges over the next two seasons.

State basketball roundup for Saturday, March 2

State basketball roundup for Saturday, March 2: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report… Continue reading

Richland’s Landen Northrop (1) shoots the ball during a 4A semifinal game between Glacier Peak and Richland at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Glacier Peak fell, 70-59. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Glacier Peak boys fade late against Richland in 4A state semifinals

An 11-0 closing run by the Bombers hands the Grizzlies a 70-59 loss.

Mead’s Teryn Gardner (24) moves with the ball during a 3A semifinal game between Snohomish and Mead at the Tacoma Dome on Friday, March 1, 2024 in Tacoma, Washington. Snohomiosh fell, 56-50. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish girls get rolling too late, fall to Mead in 3A state semifinals

Snohomish makes a valiant second-half push, but comes up short 56-50 against the well-balanced top seed.

State basketball roundup for Friday, March 1

State basketball prep roundup for Friday, March 1: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To… Continue reading

Seattle Mariners relief pitcher Matt Brash delivers during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Sunday, Aug. 20, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
Mariners get relieving injury update on Matt Brash

The hard-throwing reliever won’t need surgery. Plus, updates on injuries to Gregory Santos and Luis Urias.

Washington quarterback Michael Penix speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Friday, March 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Penix Jr. confident he’s answered concerns at NFL combine

Varying national reports have stated the UW quarterback has impressed teams in formal meetings

Snohomish junior Tyler Gildersleeve-Stiles hits the floor trying to get the ball during a WIAA 3A Girls Basketball quarterfinal against Arlington on Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish girls lock down Arlington, advance to 3A state semifinals

The Panthers run away a 45-25 victory in a rubber match between the Wesco rivals.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.