With the preseason approaching on Aug. 11, the New York Giants need depth desperately at safety.
The safety talent is highly questionable after projected starters Xavier McKinney and Julian Love. Rookie Dane Belton will miss the preseason while recovering from a broken collarbone. Unproven safeties such as Andrew Adams, Trenton Thompson, Nate Meadors and Yusuf Corker make up the rest of the team’s depth.
It’s a top-heavy group and if one of McKinney and Love go down with an injury, inexperience comes into play.
The Giants should keep a watchful eye out for a safety that can spring free from a contender.
Super Bowl Contender Has Possible Cut Candidate
The 24-year-old started 17 games for the Rams last season and posted 94 total tackles and six passes defended. However, he missed the team’s playoff run before the Super Bowl because of a concussion and Ballentine noted that “the defense got along fine without him.”
Jordan Fuller is penciled in at safety. Rapp is competing against Nick Scott, who had an interception and 14 tackles during the Rams’ playoff run to their Super Bowl win. Rapp and Scott are also in contract years.
Ballentine touched on the positives and negatives concerning Rapp’s game.
“Rapp has been shaky in coverage,” Ballentine wrote. “Last season, he allowed 9.7 yards per target and four touchdowns along with a 74.1 completion percentage. Rapp provides value in the run game, but it’s fair to wonder if that’s enough to keep him around.”
Los Angeles can create more than $2.5 million in cap space by cutting or trading Rapp. The Rams have $8.2 million in cap space and with the talent at safety, it would make sense to add to other areas of need.
Ballentine brought up the possibility of the Rams re-signing wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who contributed to the team’s Super Bowl run and is still a free agent.
The Giants could be a fit for Rapp, who put together a career day against New York last season. He caught two interceptions, swatted three pass deflections and collected six tackles (one solo) in the Rams’ 38-11 defeat of the Giants.
How Rapp Would Be Used in NY
If McKinney and Love stay healthy, where would Rapp fit into the picture?
Defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale could decide to implement more three-safety looks. In Martindale’s primarily man coverage scheme, safeties are required to be more versatile than in most defenses.
Rapp can crash closer to the box and provide help on rush defense, which is his strong suit. Having Rapp in New York could make McKinney and Love as versatile as ever, which is what Martindale loves about the duo.
“I mean those guys you can move around are fun to coach because the number one thing is how smart he (Love) is — how football smart he is. He understands little things and it’s a valuable piece to have when you’re putting a defense together in this league,” Martindale said, via USA Today’s Giants Wire.
It’s important to remember that the Rams can implement three-safety looks as well.
But if the Rams decide to trade Rapp or cut the soon-to-be four-year veteran, it’s a situation worth monitoring for the Giants.