Dallas Cowboys: How promising is defensive end Charles Tapper?

DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 11: Charles Tapper
DALLAS, TX - OCTOBER 11: Charles Tapper /

The Dallas Cowboys welcome second year pro, Charles Tapper, back to the team this season. How promising is this edge rusher’s potential?

Charles Tapper joined the Dallas Cowboys last season as an fourth round draft pick out of Oklahoma. Amidst a massive need at defensive end, Tapper was the Cowboys’ sole addition to the edge last year. Seemingly misused in his college scheme, Tapper was thought to be one of those rare breeds that become a better professional player than college player.

But before Charles Tapper could ever get things going, he was lost for the season with what is called a pars defect. Now, cleared by medical to fully participate, Tapper has become an offseason savior to many who wish to cure the Cowboys pass rushing woes.

Charles Tapper the Collegiate Athlete

Charles Tapper played collegiately at Oklahoma. As many know, Oklahoma employs a 3-4 defense that requires its front-3 to play 2-gap defense. As a 5-technique defensive end, Tapper was asked to play a  read-and-react role rather than an attacking role. Because of this, his stats aren’t quite the gaudy display that typically excite a fanbase.

But Charles Tapper turned heads when he participated at the NFL combine last offseason. Weighing in at 271 lbs, Tapper blew scouts away with his 4.59 40-time, 1.59 10-yard split, 34 inch vertical and 9’11” board jump. Suddenly, the man who rated as one Pro Football Focus’ top 15 3-4 defensive ends in the nation, now projected as a right defensive end in an attacking 1-gap 4-3 defense.

Which just happens to be the exact thing Rod Marinelli and the Dallas Cowboys were/are looking for.

Charles Tapper, the Dallas Cowboy

With the Dallas Cowboys, Charles Tapper will be cast as a true edge rusher. No longer saddled with 2-gap responsibility, Tapper will be given the opportunity to pin his ears back and attack. Now weighing in at 260 lbs, Tapper is as lean and unimpeded as he’s ever been.

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The year away from football has motivated the former Sooner and could lead to breakout in 2017. Tapper has a long reach and enormous hands.

If he can gain some extra explosion from his weight loss he could potentially be a force off the edge.

The sky is the limit regarding Charles Tapper’s potential. And that’s likely the driving force in Cowboys Nation’s love for the second year pro. It appears Tapper’s best chance at becoming a Day 1 contributor will be to win the primary right defense end spot in the nickel defensive line.

The right defensive end in the nickel may sound like a bit part but it’s actually the most important of all defensive line positions.

If Charles Tapper could effectively nail that spot down and become a legitimate threat in obvious passing situations, the Dallas Cowboys would have a chance at one day advancing beyond the Green Bay Packers in the postseason.

How Promising is Charles Tapper?

Of all the defensive linemen, Charles Tapper is the most likely to one day be a double-digit sack producer. Maybe not the war daddy everyone so desperately covets but he certainly has the skillset to be pass-rushing force.

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Whether Tapper realizes that potential remains to be seen. We haven’t even begun training camp so all prognostication is purely speculative. But since you have to have potential in order to realize potential, this is an excellent starting point for the Dallas Cowboys.