As the NFL’s new league year kicked off at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday, teams can now officially meet with free agents. The New England Patriots are wasting little time doing so as they are reportedly set to host safety Taylor Rapp, linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel, and wide receiver Olabisi Johnson for visits.
Rapp, 26, was a staple in the Los Angeles Rams secondary throughout his rookie contract aligning in numerous spots along the backend. After being used more as a box safety in the early stages of his career, Rapp recorded over 1,000 snaps in a free safety role over the past two seasons — making him a potential part of replacing Devin McCourty.
The 2019 second-round draft pick has good length (6-foot, 208 pounds) at the position and was one of the most consistent tacklers at the position in the league. His 148 tackles over the past two seasons rank ninth among safeties while he has never missed more than 8.7 percent of potential tackles in a season, via PFF. Rapp also showcased a nose for the football, recording six interceptions over the last two seasons.
As for Van Ginkel, New England is quite familiar with the edge defender as he’s spent his entire four-year career with AFC East foe Miami Dolphins. The former Wisconsin Badger had the most productive stretch of his young career under former Patriots assistant coach Brian Flores, where he recorded a combined 9.5 sacks and 119 tackles in 2020 and 2021.
While projecting as a scheme fit in New England, Van Ginkel would likely also be a staple on New England’s special teams unit. The 27-year-old has played at least 270 special teams snaps in each of the last three seasons in Miami.
On the offensive side of the ball, former Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Olabisi Johnson is reportedly flying into Foxboro Thursday to meet with New England. The former seventh-round pick out of Colorado State outperformed his draft selection during his rookie season (2019) hauling in 31 receptions for 294 yards and three touchdowns.
The 6-foot, 203 pound receiver followed up his rookie year by recording just 14 catches for 189 yards throughout his sophomore campaign. Johnson has since missed the last two seasons due to two separate ACL tears.