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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.

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Where In The World Is DE Taco Charlton?

Kevin Brady

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Sean's Scout: Defense Comes Alive In Loss At LA Rams 2
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Over pretty much the last decade, the Dallas Cowboys have been rock solid with their first round picks. With selections of Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Frederick, Byron Jones, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Leighton Vander Esch (just to name a handful), Dallas has rebuilt the core of their roster through the NFL Draft.

It's nearly impossible to bat .1000 in any round of the draft, however, and this appears to be the current case with the Cowboys' 2017 first round pick.

Defensive end Taco Charlton has not had the sophomore season that he, or anyone, had hoped for. A healthy scratch last Sunday, Charlton has only been active for 1 of the Cowboys' last 5 games, and has not recorded a sack or tackle since week 9.

Prior to disappearing with injuries and "attitude issues," Charlton had only recorded 1 sack on the season and was beginning to fall behind his Hot Boy-brethren. Defensive end Randy Gregory has reached his form over the last few weeks, Tyrone Crawford is having arguably a career year, and DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the best ends in all of football.

This doesn't leave much room for Charlton, who's now having issues even getting on the gameday roster. Rod Marinelli dodged questions about Taco Charlton earlier this week, vaguely saying they are "moving forward" and that he'd like to talk about other players on his defensive line who are performing.

Calvin Watkins on Twitter

Rod Marinelli on Taco Charlton's benching and being inactive last week: "We just keep moving along keep going forward. It's kinda been out there I'd leave it at that. I'd rather talk about our two tackles.

Charlton has not been quiet about his displeasure as of late, either. He's taken to Twitter to voice his frustrations, saying that not only is his shoulder fine but that the Dallas media is making up stories about his absence. He's also posted some cryptic tweets such as this one, with a picture of Allen Iverson and a caption reading "Every players needs that one coach to believe in them."

https://twitter.com/TheSupremeTaco/status/1072203745868554240

Maybe Taco is right. Maybe he just needs increased opportunity and a support system/coach that believes in him whole-heartedly. After all, Charlton has faced nothing but doubters and detractors since the second he was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys.

But in the NFL, the ultimate "what have you done for me lately" sport, it's hard to imagine he'll get that unwavering support anywhere in the league. He's going to have to "earn" his playing time, as head coach Jason Garrett spoke to earlier in the week. But with the plethora of talent the Cowboys are already putting out there on the defensive line, it's becoming difficult to see exactly where Taco Charlton can fit in on this defense.

It's possible, and fine, if it is simply not a fit between Charlton and the Cowboys at this point. But I'd also be wary of giving up on your first round pick in just his second NFL season. Another offseason with the team, working on his craft and getting fully healthy, should do Charlton wonders, and hopefully allow us to get a better read on his future with the Cowboys going forward.

Until then, we are all left to scratch out heads and wonder what in the world is going on with the Cowboys and Taco Charlton, and if the former first round pick will have a future in Dallas at all.



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Star Blog

Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC

2018 has seen the emergence of high-powered offenses in both NFL conferences. The Kansas City Chiefs sit atop the AFC and the NFC is spearheaded by the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams. Through 14 weeks, these three teams are the top three offenses in the NFL, each averaging over 30 points per game. This year, for the first time in NFL history, two teams scored more than 50 in the same game.

Thanks to this consistent impressive offensive performances, you would think "offense" is the name of the game for the 2018 NFL season. Well, not so fast, my friend. Despite sitting atop the NFC, the Saints and the Rams have recently suffered losses that indicate hope is anything but lost for defensive teams in the league.

The Chicago Bears were able to bring down the Rams last Sunday Night 15-6. The same offense that averages 33 points per game was limited to six points. Sean McVay's remarkable offense went home with no touchdowns to talk about on the plane back home. Instead, they probably discussed Jared Goff's four interceptions.

Weeks earlier, the Dallas Cowboys shocked the world when they brought down the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas simply couldn't move the ball against Leighton Vander Esch, DeMarcus Lawrence and Byron Jones. 13 points were all the Cowboys needed to score to beat an offense that was averaging 37 per game heading into week 13 but was only able to put up 10 in Dallas.

The Cowboys are the #4 seed with the Bears slightly ahead of them as the #3 seed in the NFC. Together, these teams have defeated the top two in the conference. Now granted, playoffs will definitely be different.

For starters, if they are to advance to the divisional round, they'll be on the road. Chicago was surely benefited by playing in such a cold weather versus a Los Angeles team. As far as the Cowboys are concerned, few times has AT&T Stadium been as loud as when they beat the Saints.

Hopefully, we'll get to see both of these elite defenses advance to the Divisional Round to  square off against this couple of high-powered offenses again. We will not only be witnessing amazing football games, but a great discussion regarding the everlasting debate between offense and defense.

For years, "defense wins championships" has been a widely accepted statement in football. The Cowboys and Bears have made that same statement resound recently with their impressive wins.

Can they do it again in January football? Can they do it on the road?

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys, Bears Proving Defense Can Win the NFC" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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

Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Fantasy Football - Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings - Week 2 2
Andy Lyons / Getty Images

Al igual que el resto de la afición de los Dallas Cowboys, parte de mí se siente confiada respecto a este equipo visitando a Indianapolis Colts y resultando victoriosos. ¿El problema? Los Colts no son un rival sencillo de vencer. Si crees que la racha de los Cowboys los intimidará, piensa de nuevo. Los Houston Texans llevaban nueve victorias al hilo antes de enfrentarse a este equipo.

Siendo objetivos, este puede ser el partido que evite que los Cowboys cierren su temporada con ocho victorias al hilo para terminar el año con un récord de 11-5. Ni los Tampa Bay Buccaneers ni los New York Giants deberían presentar amenaza alguna contra Dallas. Lo mismo no se puede decir de Indianapolis.

Por primera vez en mucho tiempo, Andrew Luck está realmente de vuelta. Gracias a una reconstrucción de su línea ofensiva, su nivel de juego a regresado al nivel que conocíamos de él desde que llegó a la NFL. Afortunadamente para los Colts, Luck se ha mantenido sano toda la temporada y no se ve rastro alguno de sus lesiones anteriores en el emparrillado.

T.Y. Hilton está teniendo un muy buen año y sin duda alguna presentará un reto para Byron Jones y el resto de la secundaria de los Cowboys. Eric Ebron en la posición de tight end también será un dolor de cabeza para la defensiva.

Lo más interesante se dará en las trincheras. Los Cowboys han hecho un muy buen trabajo presionando quarterbacks opuestos en la temporada, pero si el centro de los Colts, Ryan Kelly está sano el domingo, se enfrentarán al mejor duo de centro-guardia en la liga actualmente. Con Quenton Nelson al lado, Luck estará muy bien protegido.

Sin embargo, Kelly no ha jugado debido a una lesión y aún está por verse si tomará el campo el domingo por la mañana. Los Cowboys hicieron un muy buen trabajo a la entonces ofensiva #1 de la liga, los New Orleans Saints, pero eso no significa que la ofensiva #8 que tienen los Colts no los retará.

Promediando 27 puntos por juego, la defensiva necesitará ayuda de Dak Prescott y compañía para ganar el partido. Dallas continúa moviendo el balón efectivamente, pero es tiempo de anotar touchdowns y no goles de campo.

Ezekiel Elliott será, una vez más, clave para la victoria. Enfrentándose a una defensiva Top 10 contra el juego terrestre, mover las cadenas con Zeke no será tan fácil. El novato Darius Leonard como linebacker ha sido algo espectacular otra temporada al igual que Leighton Vander Esch. Liderando a toda la NFL en tackleadas, estará listo para recibir a los Cowboys al Lucas Oil Stadium.

Lo más importante de este partido...

Por más impresionante que sea la racha de cinco victorias consecutivas, los Cowboys tienen que demostrar que pueden ganarle a un equipo fuerte estando de visita. Porque hay que admitirlo, Jason Garrett y su equipo no han tenido éxito fuera de casa. Claro, le ganaron a un equipo debilitado de Philadelphia Eagles y a unos Atlanta Falcons que va 4-9.

Este equipo "nuevo" de los Cowboys no ha ido contra un rival de calidad siendo el visitante. Es tiempo de demostrar que lo pueden hacer, ya que si quieren contender en postemporada, es justo lo que necesitarán... jugar bien de visita.

Sinceramente creo que los Cowboys ganan este partido. Principalmente gracias a su defensiva, pero también veo a la ofensiva dominar el tiempo de posesión en un juego de pocos puntos. Es tiempo de mantener esa racha.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys en Español: Los Colts No Son Cualquier Rival" in the comments below, or tweet me @MauNFL 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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