When the Dallas Cowboys used their fourth round pick in 2016 on Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper, they never imagined how long they'd have to wait.
It turned out they had to wait at least an entire year. But now, heading into 2017, Tapper is apparently ready to roll in Rod Marinelli's scheme.
Per 247 Sports, Tapper wants the world to know he's in the best shape of his life, which is saying a lot coming from a DE that actually outran some wide receivers at the 2016 NFL Combine.
I bring some speed but I also bring a lot of power that a lot of people don't know about," Tapper said, via Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News. "At [the University of Oklahoma], I showed a low of power being at 290 [lb] but I didn't get to showcase my speed. I can't wait to finally get out there and showcase this speed that I have, and show the versatility that I have as a pass rusher.
"...Nobody [at the NFL Combine] beat my speed at 270 [lb] as a defensive end. I still hold that record and that's a great record to hold."
Tapper, the former All-Big 12 DE, has a historic goal. He said only weeks ago that, 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. This could be a challenge in Marinelli's preferred defensive line, a rotating force of fresh legs who all take stabs at the quarterback, but rarely stay in for an entire quarter.
“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, Tapper put up 135 tackles and 13.5 sacks. including five forced fumbles and two recoveries.