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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

The Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle is Heating Up

Brian Martin

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Dallas Cowboys WR Position Battle Heating Up 1

Earning a spot on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster is going to be a lot tougher in 2018 then it has been in years past. There is no shortage of position battles taking place right now to earn one of those coveted openings, but it's the battle taking place at receiver that's gaining steam and starting to heat up.

The ultimate unknown right now is how many wide receivers the Dallas Cowboys choose to carry on their 53-man roster this season. Last year they decided to carry six, but they have been known to carry just five. Unfortunately, this means they will have to release some talented players and risk losing them to another team.

As things stand right now there may just be one, possibly two, roster spots up for grabs. I think the only thing we know for sure right now is Cole Beasley, Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin are the only WRs who can feel secure their jobs are safe for 2018. Everybody else is playing a game of Survivor, just hoping their name isn't the one written down and their torch isn't snuffed out.

Terrance Williams' flame may be safe due to his current contract. The Dallas Cowboys can't save anything by releasing him, but it doesn't cost them that much either. It's unlikely he has a future with the team, so if someone were to prove themselves more worthy, his flame could be extinguished.

Terrance Williams

Dallas Cowboys WR Terrance Williams

Last season I thought Noah Brown was ready to unseat Williams, but that never really materialized. Unfortunately, Brown hasn't really shown up as much as I thought he would this offseason, and missing the game against the San Francisco 49ers last week didn't do him any favors either. This doesn't bode well for him moving forward.

Deonte Thompson was signed as a free agent to provide some veteran experience and speed to the passing game, but that in no way means his job is secure. He needs to do something to show up a little more because his age and salary means a younger up-and-coming WR could make him expendable.

Second-year WR Lance Lenoir Jr. might just be the receiver who has stirred things up the most. He has not only created a buzz for himself in offseason practices, but he was able to carry it over into the preseason last week against the 49ers. His arrow trajectory is definitely pointing upwards.

I'd definitely hate to be the one to decide who stays and who goes when final cuts are made. It's not going to be an easy decision to make, because the outcome will definitely have an impact on the team's success this year.

All of these players were brought into help Quarterback Dak Prescott and the passing game reach new heights, so making the wrong move could be detrimental. The number of wide receivers and who the Dallas Cowboys decide to keep might be the most important decision they make before the season starts.

How would you predict the Dallas Cowboys WR position battle turning out?



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Star Blog

Any Concern About Dan Bailey Not Playing Against 49ers?

Brian Martin

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Decision not to Play Dan Bailey against the 49ers a Concern? 1

With all the excitement of the Dallas Cowboys finally playing in a game last week against the San Francisco 49ers, it may have escaped your attention that Dan Bailey remained on the sideline the entire time. He didn't attempt one field goal or kick off once last Thursday, which in my opinion is a little concerning.

Dan Bailey joined Ezekiel Elliott and Sean Lee on the sideline as a healthy scratch last week. The decision to sit both Zeke and Sean Lee makes sense due to the physical demands of their positions, but sitting Bailey was a bit of a head scratcher. After all, it's not like he plays a physically demanding position like the other two.

I know. I know. Dan Bailey is an integral part for the Cowboys success moving forward. I'm not arguing that he's not, but after sitting out the majority of the 2017 season with a groin injury and lingering concerns about his health this year, not playing him at all against the 49ers is a bit confusing.

I don't believe there is any kind of kicking competition between Dan Bailey and Brett Maher, who handled all of the kicking duties against the 49ers last Thursday. Bailey will be the Cowboys kicker when the 2018 season gets underway in just a few short weeks. But, the question remains… Why didn't he receive any playing time?

Dan Bailey

Dallas Cowboys K Dan Bailey

Dan Bailey was never quite the same last season once he returned from his injury. Something was off and I don't know if it was more mental or physical, maybe a little of both. He just wasn't splitting the uprights like his normal self.

Unfortunately, we have seen this kind of thing happen in the past with one of the Cowboys kickers. Nick Folk went through a similar situation with an injury and never really bounced back. I'm just hoping history doesn't repeat itself.

Obviously, the Dallas Cowboys know more about what's going on with Dan Bailey than I do. But, you would think they'd have allowed him to attempt a field goal or at least an extra point in a game situation to build up his confidence once again. It's what I would have done.

Hopefully I'm just being a little paranoid and I'm reading more into this than there actually is. But, the fact I haven't heard any reasoning as to why Dan Bailey was held out last week is sitting a little uneasy with me. I'm just hoping it was precautionary in order to keep him as healthy as possible for the upcoming season.

Should we be concerned Dan Bailey was a healthy scratch last week?



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Star Blog

Week 1 NFC East Predictions and Cowboys Season Outlook

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Week 1 NFC East Predictions and Cowboys Season Outlook

Let me start this article with a strong opening statement: The Cowboys will be better in 2018 than they were in 2017. There's been a lot of talk about the lack of a true No. 1 receiver. But when we break it down, the current setup will most likely play out better for Cowboys QB Dak Prescott.

The Dak Stats

Certain quarterbacks shine when they have that go-to playmaker. We're talking about guys like Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, Ocho Cinco, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Dez Bryant. But other QBs do better at reading the defense and quickly adapting to what is given. Dak Prescott is the latter breed of QB.

Let’s do a quick numbers exercise to prove this.

When Prescott is targeting 8 or more receivers throughout the game, his passer rating jumps from 86.1 (targeting less than 8) to 104.5. He passes for almost 50 yards more per game and his touchdown to interception ratio drastically improves from 21-13 to 24-4.

Most importantly, when he targets at least 8 different receivers, the Cowboys are 14-2. When he targets less than 8, the team is just .500 at 8-8.

Without a doubt, Prescott is much better at adjusting to what the defense is giving him. He just isn’t one of those guys who can successfully "force" the ball (like Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees). Not feeling the pressure of having to get the ball into the hands of the star playmaker will give this offense a new kind of depth in 2018.

Yes, losing Jason Witten hurts, much more so in my opinion than not having Dez.

Questions Still Loom

This is still the Cowboys' biggest concern on offense. There is some great depth. We have Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin, Geoff Swaim, and the young stud out of Stanford, Dalton Schultz. But between the three who have any NFL experience, there are only 9 catches between them. I must say that Dalton, with his 4.75 40-yard dash, has a legitimate shot at seeing a lot of playing time in his rookie campaign and could become an impact player with his size (6’5”, 244-lbs) and speed.

But despite the battle for TE being wide open, and debates about whether or not the team needs a No. 1 receiver, the Cowboys are still expected to give the Eagles a run for their money in the NFC East. Here are the odds on the defending NFC East champions and how (although early) it is expected to shake out:

  1. Philadelphia Eagles -167
  2. Dallas Cowboys +350
  3. New York Giants +650
  4. Washington Redskins +750

NFC East Week 1 Predictions

The Cowboys open the season in a difficult road game against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have been listed as 2.5-point favorites (follow the Cowboys NFL Odds here all season long) which isn’t surprising considering they are a tough team playing at home. You might be thinking, "crap, we're opening up as underdogs?" Don’t worry too much; it actually bodes fairly well because the lines-makers generally give a 3-point advantage to the home team. This means that they actually handicap the Cowboys to be a half-point favorite on a neutral field and a 3.5-point favorite in Arlington.

The Redskins open their season in Arizona against the Cardinals. The line is set at a pick ‘em (meaning there is no point spread; it's anyone's game). But, looking at the 'Skins and Cardinals, I think Washington gets disappointed in Week 1 and starts their season with a loss.

The Giants get to test their new offensive line and see if they were right in continuing to place their faith in Eli Manning against the best defense in the league. The Jags are 3-point favorites at MetLife stadium. This means the Jags are actually 6-points better. I do think that the Giants will be vastly improved this season, but they are also going to open with a loss.

The Eagles don’t have it easy either, but they will probably pull out the win at home as 4-point favorites against the Dirty Birds on Thursday Night Football. Their defense is just too good. Atlanta's road offense scored just 21 points per game last year while Philly scores 28 on average at home. The Eagles' home defense has been downright nasty, only allowing 12 points per game in Philadelphia.

This will be a two-horse race for the division between the Eagles and Cowboys. And even if the Eagles win the East, the Cowboys will wildcard into the playoffs.



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