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Cowboys DE Charles Tapper Declares Himself Ready For 2017

One of the few negatives from the ' 2016 draft class was , who never got to play due to back problems. After sitting out the season, Tapper shared some encouraging news through his Twitter account this morning:

This is welcome news on several levels. Tapper was an early fourth-round pick at a position of critical need. The Cowboys' inability to rush the passer was arguably the biggest reason they went home early in the . Although he weighs over 270 pounds, Tapper posted the fastest 40-yard dash for all defensive linemen at last year's NFL .
Charles TapperThe Cowboys have plenty of reason to be optimistic about Charles Tapper's potential based on the rest of the draft class. and became instant stars while and emerged as important players on . Tapper was drafted before Prescott and well before Brown; a statement to his perceived potential.

Dallas has plenty of questions about their for 2017. is a and DeMarcus Lawrence just had another back surgery, though he should be fine by the start of the new season. is currently looking at a one-year for repeated use, although another appeal may be pending.

Having missed so much developmental work during his rookie year, it would be unwise to rely too much on Charles Tapper next year. However, his debut will help to offset the loss of Gregory and give another rotation piece. Anything he does beyond that will be gravy.

Charles TapperIt's also worth remembering that Tapper's condition was not expected to be serious when first reported last August, yet he still missed the entire season. Reports are that Charles has a Pars Defect in his lower back; a lifelong spinal condition that can cause problems with the usual motions and rigors of playing football. It's especially bad for linemen, who put tremendous strain on their backs down in the trenches.

Whatever the future holds for Charles Tapper and the Cowboys, today was at least some positive news about an exciting prospect. If he and can become as productive next year as their fellow draft classmates were in 2016, we could be looking at the greatest draft in franchise .

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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