If there's one thing we can't really deny, it's that the Dallas Cowboys have a heck of a defensive line with tons of potential. Unfortunately, some of them are having trouble staying out of trouble off the field.
But there's one young defensive lineman who Will McClay, the Cowboys' senior director of college and pro personnel, says is a cut above the rest in terms of star potential.
Second-year end Charles Tapper.
Per the Dallas Morning News,
"Yeah, I mean, he had injuries. Another young guy; it's like another draft pick for us that's coming in to play now. What he is is extremely explosive. The first thing that you see about him is how explosive he is, how fast he is. He's learning the intricacies of it. He played in a scheme that didn't utilize his physical traits [at Oklahoma], so now he's got to learn to use those in the NFL against better people. He's only growing that way, but the one thing you can't deny is how explosive he is. Once he learns how to use that, he's gonna be a bonus."
Note how McClay called Tapper "extremely explosive. Even in the official, PR speak of modern day coaches and executives, we don't hear this compliment too often. Translation: it should be really exciting to watch Tapper this season.
Tapper, the former All-Big 12 defensive end, has a historic goal. He said weeks ago that he's going after the NFL single-season sack record (22.5), currently held by rival New York Giants' legend Michael Strahan.
"Coach always [talks about] high expectations, high standards," Tapper said, "So right now I'm going for whatever the sack record is.
"You got to shoot for the stars."
To do that he'll have to stay healthy, something that was a challenge for both him and 2016 first-round pick Jaylon Smith. Both men never stepped foot on the field in 2016.
“Right now, I just want to go out there and play," said Tapper to Tulsa World. "I want to make plays in training camp because if you don’t make plays in training camp, it just defeats the purpose. ...I’m feeling light, I’m ready to get with Coach Marinelli and get it going on the first day.
"I’m feeling great, I’m ready, locked and loaded. I’m stronger than I was last year. I’m just even more ready to get going with Marinelli.”
Over four seasons in Norman, the former Oklahoma Sooner Tapper put up 135 tackles and 13.5 sacks. including five forced fumbles and two recoveries.