Charles Tapper, DL — Dallas Cowboys
School: Oklahoma | Conference: Big 12
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6-2 / 271 lbs
Drafted: 4th round, 3rd pick (#101 overall)
NFL Comparison: Stephen Bowen
Player Overview — Original Profile
An interesting prospect who could develop into a something of a utility infielder, Charles Tapper does not really fit any one role coming out of college. A bit of a tweener, his size is closer to that of an edge rusher but his skill set is closer to that of an interior lineman. He would probably be best off bulking up and committing to the inside, because he simply does not have the quickness or pass rush acumen to thrive on the outside. He's had periods of success but far greater, and longer, stretches of negligible football. In a dominant four-game stretch in 2015, he had 7.0 sacks, 8.0 tackles for a loss (includes the sacks), 20 total tackles, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one pass defended; the other nine games of the season, he had no sacks, 2.0 tackles for a loss, 30 total tackles, one forced fumble, no recoveries and two passes defended.
Where He Can Hurt The Redskins
Tapper can hurt the Redskins simply by playing. The Redskins and Cowboys don't meet for the first time until Sept. 18, Week 2, but at least three relevant defenders are already out for the game due to suspensions: Rolando McClain (10 games), DeMarcus Lawrence (4 games) and Randy Gregory (4 games). Even if Dallas wasn't facing so many absences, Tapper could be a factor because the surrounding defense is nothing to write home about.
The Cowboys list Tapper as a defensive end on their official roster, and that's likely his best fit in their 4-3 base defense. That's also his preferred position, so it works out for all parties.
Charles Tapper, one of the happiest guys here, told me Tuesday his ideal spot is strong side 4-3 DE. Loves setting edge against the run.— Jon Ledyard (@LedyardNFLDraft) January 29, 2016
Coming out of college, I thought he lacked the speed and agility to play on the edge and figured his best move was to bulk up and push inside, but perhaps he simply wasn't in great shape then. He checked in at 271 pounds at the Combine, a marked drop from the 281 he was listed at as a senior, and he looks a good deal slimmer than he did when he was at Oklahoma.
Tapper's role will be to set the edge against the Redskins, and he'll put up a good fight against Morgan Moses or whoever is lined up at right tackle. Washington catches a break with the timing of this first game, with not only three notable defenders expected to be suspended, but Tapper will be playing just his second career NFL game and the growing pains should be evident. The Redskins would be well-served to take advantage of his rookie struggles and attack him whenever he's on the field, especially considering the lack of talent around him.