With the 28th selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys decided to take Taco Charlton, a defensive end out of Michigan. It wasn’t a huge surprise that the Cowboys took a pass rusher at that spot, but who they decided to take was.
Despite having all of the measurables and athleticism to play either the left or right defensive end spot in a 4-3 defense, Charlton was viewed by many draft analysts as a second round talent. It wasn’t a huge stretch for the Cowboys to draft Charlton 28th overall, but nearly everybody agreed that it would take time for him to develop.
Through the first four weeks of the 2017 season, Taco Charlton has been active every game, but has yet to make much of an impact. In fact, he has been virtually invisible. That is why I think it might just be time for the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff to switch things up and reverse the roles of Taco Charlton and Charles Tapper.
Charles Tapper has been inactive these last two games against the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, but it’s time for that to change. Taco Charlton simply isn’t ready yet and hopefully just needs more time to develop. Of course, there is always the possibility that he is a bust, which means the Cowboys wasted their 2017 first-round draft pick.
Unfortunately, Taco Charlton hasn’t been effective so far this season. He has played a total of 101 defensive snaps and just 1 snap on special teams. He has only been able to register 3 total tackles in that time and hasn’t been able to put hardly any pressure on opposing QBs. That’s not the kind of productivity the Cowboys thought they were getting by drafting him 28th overall.
Charles Tapper on the other hand seems to have been much more effective in the short amount of time he has been on the field. He has just 37 defensive snaps in two games, but has just as many tackles as Charlton (3) and a quarterback sack. He can also play special teams and already has more special teams snaps than Charlton (9). To me, that indicates that Tapper is much more productive at this point in his career than the Cowboys rookie DE.
Based on their pre-draft workouts, Tapper is clearly the more athletic/explosive player. Tapper and Charlton both weighed in around 270 pounds, but Tapper ran a 4.59 40 yard dash compared to Charlton’s 4.92. The rest of their measurables/workout numbers are similar, except Charlton has a 3 inch height advantage over Tapper.
The height advantage doesn’t really mean much though. Sometimes being the taller player can be a disadvantage. It’s all about keeping offensive lineman from getting into their bodies, so arm length is usually the more important attribute. In that regard, both Charlton (34 1/4) and Tapper (34 3/8) are very similar.
If you keep all of that in mind, Charles Tapper seems to be the better of the two defensive ends. He has been in the strength and conditioning program for a year and was able to drop his weight to around the 255 range, making him much more explosive. But, for some reason the coaching staff continued to stick with an ineffective Taco Charlton, likely due to his draft pedigree.
Maybe this is the week we see a change. The Dallas Cowboys certainly need all the help they can get with their pass rush, especially considering the Green Bay Packers are up next on the schedule. If nothing else, it would be good to get more tape on Charles Tapper so that they can evaluate him more during the bye week.