There is a player on the Cowboys roster who hasn’t really gotten his career going yet, but who many think could help the Dallas pass rush. And we’re not talking about Randy Gregory. Charles Tapper is that guy, and he was recently a question of interest with the Mothership’s mailbag series.
CHRIS METCALF LEWISVILLE, TX
One of the players that seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle since Taco Charlton was drafted is Charles Tapper. It seems like he was starting to flash some talent before his injury. What’s his status and potential for next season?
Rob: Spoke to Tapper in December and he was in good spirits, looking forward to getting back to work in the offseason coming off foot surgery. It’s unfortunate that injuries have really limited him in his first two seasons. I’ve always been intrigued by his quick first step as a pass rusher. A little like Charlton, balance and leverage are important for him in finishing plays.
David: Stephen Jones said at the Senior Bowl that the Cowboys don’t have any injuries that will hold them out of training camp, so I’d expect that Tapper will be ready in plenty of time. As for his potential — we’ve seen what he can do when he’s healthy, it’s just that it hasn’t happened often. I’ll be interested to see what he can do in Year 3, but I wouldn’t let it stop me from drafting pass rush help.
The Cowboys have a “war daddy” in DeMarcus Lawrence. He has helped us all relax a little about the Cowboys pass rush, but questions remain. The Cowboys have to get Lawrence re-signed, which they will. There is also the question of David Irving’s status - do they want him or do they want someone to make an offer for him so they can get a draft pick?
After that, there is a dropoff. Tyrone Crawford is never going to materialize into a feared pass rusher. Taco Charlton is learning and improving, but will he get to the level the Cowboys need from a first-round pick? Randy Gregory has to prove he can stay on the field and off of suspension before he can make an impact.
Maybe Charles Tapper can surprise in 2018 by staying healthy and producing. After being drafted in the fourth round in 2016, Tapper has played in two games in two years and gathered one sack. The rest of his stint with the Cowboys has been injury-filled.
Tapper was a Combine darling and had some real stats from his days in Oklahoma to back it up. He played out of position when the Sooners changed defenses and that probably hurt his draft stock because his stats were down. But people rave about his quickness and first step, key traits for a pass-rush defensive end.
It feels like we’ve kind of forgotten about Tapper, but maybe we shouldn’t. He definitely has the potential to make a difference in the pass rush, but can he ever stay on the field?