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Is Charles Tapper the Next DeMarcus Lawrence for Cowboys?

Brian Martin

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Is It Time To Replace Taco Charlton With Charles Tapper?

On the surface, it would seem that DeMarcus Lawrence and Charles Tapper have nothing in common with one another other than the career they have chosen and the position they play. But, if you dig a little deeper, you will notice a lot of similarities with the way they have started their professional careers with the Dallas Cowboys.

Each player has had a problem staying healthy, which has limited their effectiveness on the field and stunted their development. Both Tapper and Lawrence have had back problems and foot injuries that landed them on injured reserve. It's not the way they wanted to start their careers, but that's just the way things go sometimes.

Entering his fourth season in the NFL, DeMarcus Lawrence was finally able to get healthy and rewarded the Dallas Cowboys patience with a fantastic 2017 campaign, which earned him a trip to the Pro Bowl. The Cowboys now have their "War Daddy", but it might just be pure luck it happened at all.

Heading into the 2017 season, Lawrence was no surefire thing to make the final 53-man roster. Many fans had grown tired of his reoccurring injuries and were ready to move on. The Cowboys may have felt the same way, but they were pretty much forced to hang on to him out of pure need.

It was lucky they did, because Lawrence turned into one the best defensive ends in the entire NFL and now looks like a cornerstone player for the defense. But, the Cowboys could now use someone to play opposite him and I think that player could be Charles Tapper, who has had a similar start to his career.

Charles Tapper

Dallas Cowboys DE Charles Tapper (Paul Spinelli via AP)

Tapper is kind of the forgotten man amongst the Cowboys DEs. He was part of the fantastic 2016 draft class for the Cowboys, but has ended up on injured reserve his first two seasons in the league with a back injury as a rookie and a broken foot this past season. Pretty much the same injuries that held Lawrence back as well.

I know it's a little bit of a reach, but I think Charles Tapper could end up being the next DeMarcus Lawrence for the Dallas Cowboys. If Tapper can ever get healthy, I think it can be a difference maker.

There is no questioning Tapper's talent. He was one of the most physically gifted DEs in the 2016 draft class, his Combine numbers prove that, but I also think he is one of the best on the Cowboys roster.

I truly believe Charles Tapper would've finished somewhere in the range of 6 to 8 quarterback sacks in 2017 if he wouldn't have broken his foot. With his explosive first step, he looked really good last season in his limited playing time and finished the year with one QB sack on just 37 defensive snaps.

For comparison sake, Tyrone Crawford finished with four QB sacks on 626 defensive snaps and Taco Charlton had three sacks with 399 snaps. You can see it's not a reach to believe Tapper couldn't have done better with more playing time.

I don't know about you, but I personally have high hopes for Charles Tapper next season and I think he could be the player to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence on the right side. Of course, all of this depends on if he can finally stay healthy for an entire season. If that happens, watch out!

Do you think Charles Tapper can follow DeMarcus Lawrence's footsteps?


Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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6 Comments
  • Nick Russo

    Really glad you wrote this article Brian. Since we drafted Tapper I’ve thought he could come in and be an impact DE. He played well at Oklahoma considering that he was essentially playing out of position in their defensive scheme. It was unfortunate that he had to miss his entire rookie year but coming into this past season, seeing how Tapper would perform was near the top of my list for the defense. As you mentioned, he was only able to play in two games before the foot injury sidelined him the rest of the year. But in those two games he was explosive and was able to get to the quarterback. I think that he will be an impact on the D-line if he can stay healthy.

    • oneputter

      Completely agree Nick. I was really looking forward to him contributing in year one. Was a fan of his while at OU and you’re right he played well in a scheme that was not necessarily a good fit for him all the time.

      He did show some in his limited action. We can only hope that he gets to finish a season upcoming.

  • Travis Diggs

    What have we seen from him to make us believe that

  • Corey

    I would like to think he can be a bookend to Lawrence, because he was pretty good at OU. It is just too bad he hasn’t been able to show more of what he can do because of injuries. Hopefully that will change in 2018

  • EverybodyTalks

    Still a Tapper fan.
    Thanks for the article Brian. To get a DLaw type DE from a 4th round pick is not out of the realm of possibility. I mean we were able to get our franchise QB with the 4th round pick AFTER Tapper. Hope he can remain on the roster and show us his stuff. Tapper only played 2 games and had a sack…so optimistically, in 16 games, that projects to 8 sacks..not bad!

  • Albert Smith

    I agree Brian I was amped about this season and the injury happened, really for the defense as a whole I thought it would improve. I watch a lot of film and so when many of my friends and family were in panic mode early on I told them to exercise patience which can be trying but in the end they saw the upside to our young core.

Star Blog

Could a Former Division Rival be Cowboys’ LG Solution?

Brian Martin

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Could Former Division Rival be Cowboys' OG Solution?

When it comes to prioritizing the Dallas Cowboys offseason needs, offensive guard is definitely near the top of the list. Opinions will certainly vary, but for me, solidifying the offensive line with a new starting left guard is the top priority for the Cowboys.

I know many of you will disagree and believe the Dallas Cowboys need to continue to upgrade their defense. But, this teams success or failure will be determined by how their offensive line performs. That's just the way the Cowboys are built, which is why they have invested so heavily putting this unit together.

Four out of five of the Dallas Cowboys starting offensive line is set in stone, but there is currently no one on the roster to step into the vacant left guard position unless you want to see the coaching staff give Chaz Green another try.

No, I didn't think so.

With the start of the 2018 free agency just a few weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys have certainly narrowed down some of the potential free agents they would be interested in bringing aboard if the price is right. Remember, they have turned into "bargain shoppers".

There are a few intriguing free agent options who I believe could step in to upgrade the LG position for the Cowboys next season, and not break the bank. One such option is a former division rival of the New York Giants, Justin Pugh.

Justin Pugh

New York Giants OL Justin Pugh

The former 19th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has spent five years in New York while playing out his rookie contract, but that time has come to an end. The Giants aren't likely to re-sign him, which means he will get his first taste of free agency.

Justin Pugh could step in and be an immediate upgrade over what the Dallas Cowboys employed at the left guard position in 2017. He has exceptional mobility. He reaches the second level with ease and plays with good body control and footwork. He is a perfect fit in a zone blocking scheme like the Cowboys employ.

Pugh is also versatile. He has played both right tackle and offensive guard for the Giants. He of course would be asked to play between Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith at LG with the Cowboys, but versatility to play another position is never a bad thing.

Unfortunately, Pugh doesn't come without baggage. He has missed a total of 13 games over the last two seasons with the Giants, including eight last season due to a back injury. This is definitely a huge red flag, especially for the Cowboys after dealing with the same issue with Tyron Smith.

But, this is why Justin Pugh will likely be in the Cowboys price range. Sportrac currently estimates his contract at 4 years at $23,983,847, which equates to $5,995,968 annually. I personally think that's a little low for someone of Pugh's caliber and versatility, but it certainly understandable when you take into account his recent injury history.

I personally think this is a longshot to happen because  the Cowboys would prefer to go younger and cheaper, but it wouldn't surprise me.

Do you think Justin Pugh makes sense for the Cowboys?


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Star Blog

Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Sadly, we can't wake up on Sundays to NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys are not on TV every week for us to watch them play. To make matters worse, we'll have to wait until September to get real football from our favorite team.

But that doesn't mean there's nothing to talk about until then! For the die-hard Cowboys fan, the offseason should be quite entertaining. Free agency will begin in March, and it should be an intense one for Dallas.

They need to handle a tight salary cap while trying to add a bit of help for this football team. Recently, Inside The Star Contributor John Williams wrote an in-depth piece about the Cowboys' cap situation and how they can manage to get things done, despite having little cap space right now.

Last season, I wrote a weekly Cowboys Wishlist about things I wanted to see for each game. Now there are no games, but I decided to write a special edition for this upcoming free agency.

Cowboys en Español: El Futuro de David Irving y DeMarcus Lawrence

Dallas Cowboys DL David Irving, DeMarcus Lawrence (Kevin Jairaj / USA TODAY Sports)

Wish #1: Keep The Rushmen

The front office will have one hell of a challenge trying to retain all of its free agents. The two most important ones may be their two defensive linemen. If they can keep them, DL won't be a top need heading to the Draft.

Lawrence is one of the biggest names in free agency this 2018, but the Cowboys should find a way to keep him from ever being available.

If they're able to franchise tag him, that'd be the way to go since he's only had one elite season in his four-year career and they may not want to sign him to a huge long-term deal and risk not seeing the same guy next season.

David Irving is a more polarizing player, with off-the-field issues. However, he's been a very disruptive guy and he has the chance to be a unique player. His talent is really out of this world. Keeping him and Irving would give this franchise a top defensive line for the first time in many years.

Anthony Hitchens 1

Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Wish #2: Pay Anthony Hitchens

When healthy, Sean Lee is one of the NFL's top linebackers. He is simply an outstanding player who's always around the ball and seems to know where the ball is going before the opposing coach even calls the play.

The problem is, he has a lot of trouble remaining available. Anthony Hitchens is a guy who's found the way to step up every time the General is out, and he's shown a great progression as a player year after year.

Lee will be 32 by the time the season starts, giving Dallas something to think about. Hitchens is a guy capable of starting and competing in the NFL. If the front office finds a way to keep him, they'll be getting closer to being less "Sean Lee-dependent."

Wish #3: Get Seattle Seahawks' Earl Thomas

When we talk about a potential big name addition to the Dallas Cowboys, we're usually a bit pessimistic. This team isn't one that makes splashes like this, but Earl Thomas to Dallas makes a ton of sense. Former Seahawks' defensive coordinator is now the Cowboys' defensive backs' coach.

With Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis (and maybe Byron Jones moving to CB), this team will have a promising secondary. Add Earl Thomas, and it will go from "promising" to "great" in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys could not only have a top DL, but a top secondary if they're able to get this veteran.

Let's hope the Cowboys listen to Thomas and they go get him.

A Case For Dez Bryant Remaining a Dallas Cowboy in 2018

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

Wish #4: Get Dez Bryant to Take a Pay Cut

When I started writing this, I wanted to add a "get this wide receiver in FA"... but I won't. A few weeks ago, I wrote a case in favor and one against Dez Bryant remaining a Cowboy in 2018. Personally, I would be fine with him parting ways with the team.

However, I'm aware of how hard it can be finding a replacement for a guy like #88. The biggest issue with Dez is definitely his cap hit. He hasn't justified the money he's being paid on the field as he should be.

If they can get him to take a pay cut, it may end up being the ideal scenario for the Dallas Cowboys.

It'll be a very interesting offseason, and here at Inside The Star we'll continue to provide you with content about it all.

Tell me what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Wishlist: 2018 Free Agency Edition" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Star Blog

Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys' 2018 Offseason

When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Cowboys Nation rejoiced. By some, including myself, the product out of North Carolina was considered a steal by America's Team. Taking a guy who could contribute from day one for special teams and for the offense was something to be happy about.

At the time, WR didn't look like much of a need. Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley were staying in Dallas and Terrance Williams had just been re-signed (little did we know he'd fail to score a single touchdown in 2017) pushing the receiver position down the team needs list.

But the front office had landed a very productive slot receiver from North Carolina. On top of that, they found a guy to replace Lucky Whitehead as a return specialist. However, offseason hype took over a large amount of Cowboys' fans, writers and analysts and the expectations for Switzer were very big.

Will Ryan Switzer see an Increased Offensive Role in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys WR Ryan Switzer

Naturally, he was compared to Cole Beasley since people started talking about him as an NFL prospect. His height, skills and playing style were similar and with the Cowboy veteran coming off from a big year in 2016, people were excited for what Switzer could do as a professional football player.

But it wasn't just about the rookie returning punts and kickoffs, it was about him contributing to an offense that already had a great slot receiver. Cowboys Nation was excited to see Switzer and Beasley on the field at the same time.

That never happened.

Switzer barely saw playing time in 2017 and when he was on the field as a WR, he was limited to running or faking jet sweeps. The coaching staff misused him and we didn't get to see him get a lot of snaps until the final week of the season, when #11 was injured.

And it was that same week when we saw what he was capable of. Switz showed how talented he is and how he can beat NFL defensive backs when he was asked to do so.

Cowboys Offense: More Hot Sauce Needed From Cole Beasley 3

Dallas Cowboys WR Cole Beasley (Matthew Emmons / USA TODAY)

With a busy offseason and a tight salary cap, the Dallas Cowboys' front office will be considering a lot of possibilities. One of them will be the future of Cole Beasley. Releasing him would free up more than $3M in cap space.

I know a large amount of Cowboys' fans prefer to see Dez Bryant gone over him, but we can't deny that there's already a clear replacement for Beasley in Switzer.

The Cowboys wanted Switzer to be a returner and a receiver for them, but if they're going to use him just as a gadget player on offense... was the fourth-round pick worth it? If you're not going to use one of them, why have two players who are very similar on your roster?

Cowboys Nation loves Cole Beasley, as they should. I for one wouldn't want to see #11 on another team. Even still, it's only fair to admit that it would make sense for Dallas if they were to say goodbye to one of their most beloved players.

Tell me what you think about "Switzer and Beasley: A Dilemma for Cowboys’ 2018 Offseason" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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