The two Huskies were the only Pac-12 players picked by Pro Football Focus for either of their first teams.
Senior linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven made the list as an Honorable Mention linebacker pick.
“Murhpy’s overall grade of 91.9 and coverage grade of 91.9 both lead the nation’s cornerbacks as he recorded the Pac-12 Championship Game’s lone touchdown on a pick-six to put the exclamation point on his season,” they said of the redshirt sophomore from Scottsdale, Ariz.
“Yeah, I mean to have Byron (Murphy) back is huge,” Rapp said of Murphy before last year’s Fiesta Bowl. “When he went down it was a major loss for our back end. To have him back, it’s been unbelievable. He’s an unbelievable player. He is so talented and has such great ball skills. To have him back in the secondary, it’s been great.”
Through 13 games, Murphy has 56 tackles, four tackles for loss, four interceptions, 13 pass breakups and one forced fumble.
BYRON MURPHY, ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
The @UW_Football DB picks the ball off the Utah player and returns it 66 yards for a touchdown.
?? FOX pic.twitter.com/ztUHF0RFz7
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) December 1, 2018
In an interesting twist, Rapp, the junior from Bellingham, also had a pick-six in UW’s last Pac-12 Championship game when they beat Colorado. He did it as a true freshman, as both he and Murphy ended up as game MVP’s because of their fantastic play.
“Rapp is a rare player with the ability to play any back-seven position if needed,” Pro Football said when announcing Rapp as an All-American. “He finishes the regular season as our highest-graded safety in the nation (91.4) and displayed his versatility with five sacks, two interceptions and five pass breakups.”
Rapp is currently third on the team in tackles with 59 and also has 6 tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries.
— Washington Football (@UW_Football) December 3, 2016
Burr-Kirven, the senior linebacker from Menlo Park, Calif., is currently third in the country in tackles per game with 12.7 through 13 games. His 165 total tackles so far this season is the most by any Husky defender since James Clifford racked up 168 tackles in 1989. With six more tackles, he would move into 7th all-time for tackles in a season.
“That guy needs a cape,” Petersen said of Burr-Kirven. He’s something else.”
Murphy and Rapp are draft-eligible and are expected to test the NFL waters and at least wait to see what their evaluation will be from the NFLPA before exploring their pro options. We expect them to both seriously consider turning pro after this season.