(Not So) Bold Predictions for the Washington Football Secondary in 2018
One of the strengths of Washington Football team’s defense in 2018 will be the secondary. That includes both the cornerbacks and safeties. Why? First of all, each week one starter from 2017 will return. And if everyone can stay healthy that’s a scary thought for opposing offenses. Byron Murphy, Jordan Miller and Myles Bryant project as the best combination of cornerbacks in the Pac-12.
There’s a legitimate argument to be made for Taylor Rapp as the best safety in the country. Also, JoJo McIntosh is a legitimate enforcer who fits perfectly in Jimmy Lake/Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense. This defense shunted opposing offenses, allowing an average of 4.42 yards per play last year despite season-ending injuries to both Miller and Murphy. They also finished as a top 10 ranked defense in the country.
Elite Corner Play
Sophomore Byron Murphy has a real chance to lead the Pac-12 in interceptions this year. He has played in two conference games, so coaches and players haven’t gotten a real chance to see what he can do yet. The two games he played in, he clearly wasn’t at game speed yet. This is a guy who had two interceptions in his first career college game, and is talented enough to be recognized on lists of “All CFB Defenses.”
With Jordan Miller on the other side, Murphy might be tested a lot early on. The Huskies are deep at corner, especially with 4-star recruits like Elijah Molden and Austin Joyner waiting in the wings. If you need a reminder on Joyner’s athleticism, watch him try to chase down Saquon Barkley in the Fiesta Bowl.
“This Team is better than the one that went to the Playoff”
This team has a shot to challenge the 2016 team’s pass defense numbers. Led by now NFL players Sidney Jones, Kevin King, and Budda Baker, that team finished allowing 182.7 pass yards per game. The backfield was so loaded, that the team produced three second round NFL Draft picks from the same defensive backfield.
In an interview with Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman, he told me “This team is better than the one that went to the Playoff.” The secondary is going to be a huge part of that, led by one of the best defensive backs coaches in the country in Jimmy Lake.
The Best Safety In America?
Last but not least, safety Taylor Rapp. He spent his first year learning alongside Budda Baker, now he plays center field. And I must say, he does quite the job. Only a 3-star recruit coming out of Bellingham, Jimmy Lake has turned him into arguably the country’s best safety. He is an elite athlete with excellent ball skills and range.
In keeping with the Washington tradition, he is an excellent tackler. His play this season will make national highlight reels. And so, if he were to declare after his junior year, I believe he has a shot to be a first rounder. Rapp’s stock will shoot up this season, as he and the corners will compliment each other incredibly well.