Charles Tapper was expected to be a good rotational defensive end and possible starter as a rookie last season, but a back injury (pars defect) landed him on injured reserve instead. It probably wasn’t how he or any of us envisioned his first year in the NFL going, but having a “redshirt” season under his belt could end up being beneficial to the rest of his career.
Charles Tapper is a physical freak for a guy his size. At 271 pounds, Tapper ran a 4.59 40 yard dash at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, which was best among the DEs. That was not only the top performance then, but would have tied him for third in the 2017 draft class with Takkarist McKinley.
It was that athleticism that had a lot of us excited about his potential, myself included. Unfortunately, the back injury pretty much wiped out his first season in the NFL, but it did gave him time to fully recuperate and take advantage of the Cowboys’ strength and conditioning program. Apparently, that is exactly what he did.
Kate Hairopoulos’ tweet about Charles Tapper transforming his body in order to stay healthy made me a little more excited than I probably should be.
You see, I really thought Tapper would’ve earned the starting right defensive end spot as a rookie last season. So, you can imagine my disappointment when he was placed on IR. But, to see he has dropped 20 pounds means he should be even faster and more explosive.
Now, I understand dropping weight and transforming your body doesn’t necessarily mean it will translate to the field. But, the Cowboys’ defense needs to improve the pass rush and Charles Tapper being able to stay healthy could do just that.
Tapper’s “redshirt” season has not only allowed him to get stronger and faster, but he also now has a year in Rod Marinelli’s 4-3 defensive scheme. All of this should allow him to get out to a quick start and hopefully convince the coaching staff he is ready for an important role on defense.
Unfortunately, it probably won’t be as a starter with Taco Charlton now in the mix at RDE. But, if Tapper goes out and plays the way I think he will, he could see quite a bit of time on the field as a rotational DE.
Of course, if Tapper and Charlton end up being the best two DEs, the coaching staff could get them on the field at the same time. Charlton’s future may be as a LDE anyway. It’s all going to come down to getting the best pass rushers on the field, regardless of experience or draft status.
It looks as if Charles Tapper has done just about everything he can so far to put himself in the best position possible. Now he just has to go out and make sure all of that hard work doesn’t go to waste.