The Buffalo Bills continued to add to their secondary depth Monday, agreeing to terms with S Taylor Rapp to a one-year deal. Taking advantage of the fire sale that the Los Angeles Rams are in the midst of, the Bills managed to secure a player with 48 games started since 2019.
The former second-round pick has not passed a physical or officially sign the contract due to vacationing in Hawaii. However, that doesn’t mean the Bills don’t know what they’re getting in Rapp despite some notable injuries in his short career.
Below is the full publicly reported injury history for Rapp and any concerns moving forward.
2019 Senior year
Hip flexor, Pac 12 Title Game, missed Rose Bowl.
Rapp suffered a hip flexor strain in the Pac-12 Championship against Utah, forcing him out of practice for the Rose Bowl. He did attempt to warm up prior to the game but ultimately did not play.
There were several reports prior to the draft that several teams were concerned about the injury, possibly making his stock fall. His agent quickly refuted that stating his injury was fully healed.
2019 Los Angeles Rams
Left ankle injury Week 4, missed 1 game.
Rapp suffered a left ankle injury against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, not able to practice on a short week before playing the Seattle Seahawks in Week 5. He was doubtful entering the game but ultimately was ruled out, missing the game. He lingered on the injury report for the following week with two limited practices before practicing in full later in the week.
Right knee injury, preseason, missed 1 game.
MCL Knee sprain, side not specified, Week 10, missed 9 games.
Rapp suffered a right knee injury during the team’s activation period of training camp which suggests this happened during conditioning. He was reported to be wearing a brace or sleeve at different points, returning later in the preseason.
While he only missed one preseason game, he lost valuable practice reps, costing him a starting role in Week 1. He would later regain his starting spot due to an injury to Jordan Fuller but suffered yet another knee injury in Week 10.
It was reported that he suffered an MCL sprain, but it is unclear which side was injured. The injury was severe enough to be placed on injured reserve for a minimum of three games. At the time, it was reported that he suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain, giving him a minimum timeline of 3-4 weeks. He was unable to return for the season, missing nine total games including playoffs.
Ankle injury, side not specified, Week 4, missed 0 games.
Shoulder injury, side not specified, Week 16, missed 0 games.
Concussion, Week 18, missed 3 games.
Rapp suffered a minor ankle injury in Week 4 that limited him in practice the following week but did not force him to miss any games.
He then suffered a shoulder injury in Week 16 playing the Minnesota Vikings and was questionable, but ultimately played the following week and not missing any snaps.
Unfortunately, Rapp missed most of the Super Bowl run as he recovered from a concussion in Week 18 against the San Francisco 49ers. This forced him out of the first three playoff games as the Rams marched to the Super Bowl but he was able to return to play in 44 percent of the defensive snaps in the win.
Ribs, Week 4, missed 1 game.
Rapp suffered a rib injury in the loss to the San Francisco 49ers, playing in 50 percent of snaps, leaving halfway through the game. He was limited all week and while the team thought he would have been able to suit up, he ultimately did not, missing the game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Buffalo Bills Injury Outlook
Despite missing 15 games including playoffs since entering the league due to injury, there is a lot to like about this signing. Rapp comes in with a ton of starting experience in the event that Jordan Poyer or Micah Hyde miss any extended time. This appears to be a contract that allows Rapp to re-establish his market next season if he can capitalize on any playing time this year.
Looking closer at the injuries, he has a pair of ankle and knee injuries, the latter costing him nine games. Rapp plays a very demanding position and lines up all over the field so it’s not surprising that he has several notable injuries. We saw how taxed the safety room was this year in Buffalo, relying on Dean Marlowe at the end of the season.
The only concern I have is what the knee that cost him so many games looks like. There wasn’t a ton of information on the specifics of the injury but I would want to know if there are any lingering issues from that season or any degenerative changes. Knee sprains are the most common injury in the NFL with 40.8 percent suffering the injury prior to the NFL Combine. This is not an injury that concerns me all that much when looking at long-term issues and he has shown the ability to return to play.
The team has yet to perform a physical on him, but nothing in this injury analysis should torpedo the deal. Thankfully, he hasn’t shown up on the injury report since then with a knee designation and has only missed time due to other issues. The ankle injuries, concussion, and other smaller injuries appear to be one-off issues. These are not something that should affect his future availability other than if he had another concussion.
I do not expect Taylor Rapp to avoid injury altogether, but there is little to be concerned about moving forward. This was a smart move on Brandon Beane to bring in proven depth if the injury bug strikes again. The upside he brings as depth and veteran voice in the room can only benefit the Bills this upcoming season.
Top Photo Credit: Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press