In the National Football League, things move fast. We go from game to game, event to event, and year to year without ever looking back and evaluating things as a fan base.
Now with the 2017 NFL Draft on the horizon, we have already forgotten about a player which may prove to be the final piece to a ridiculously successful 2016 draft class. No, I am not talking about LB Jaylon Smith or even CB Anthony Brown.
I am referring to former Oklahoma Sooners defensive end Charles Tapper.
The Dallas Cowboys have a clear and serious need on their defensive line for an edge rusher, a true speed rusher who can get to the quarterback in 1.5 seconds. Of course, that player may be former second round pick Randy Gregory, but we might never find out what could have been with him.
So instead, Dallas must look to this year’s draft to hopefully fill a dire need. Luckily, former fourth round pick Charles Tapper may be just the man to rush the quarterback from the other side in 2017.
After the Cowboys drafted Tapper, I put together a scouting report on his game, and came away rather excited about his future with the team.
At 6’3″ 271 pounds, Tapper is the ideal left defensive end in Rod Marinelli’s scheme. With an athletic profile similar to that of Noah Spence, Ryan Russell, and DeMarcus Lawrence (in college, not now with his apparent weight gain), it is easy to see why the Cowboys would target Tapper in last year’s draft.
I have already mentioned Tapper’s top of the line athletic ability. He has the size and build to play at the next level, showcases a strong bull rush at times, and has very long arms which help him keep offensive lineman’s hands off, and keep them off balance as well.
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If it weren’t for a back injury which kept Tapper out for the entire 2016 season, he would have certainly seen some time as a situational pass rusher for the Cowboys. Especially considering how weak the team’s pass rush was at times.
No, Charles Tapper isn’t the answer to all of the Cowboys pass rush woes, and he may never be more than a 3-5 sack per year player during his career. But, for all intensive purposes, 3-5 sacks would be more than fine.
The Cowboys need to go out and find their right defensive end of the future in the 2017 NFL Draft, and with the EDGE class coming in, they should have no issues doing so.
But Charles Tapper gives the Cowboys the luxury of almost having another draft pick. Next season will be like his rookie season, and if combined with an edge rusher like UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley, the Cowboys could have a dangerous pass rush for years to come.
Of course, this could all end up being typical offseason hype, but I truly believe there is reason for Cowboys fans to be excited about Charles Tapper’s debut in 2017.