I had high hopes for the Charles Tapper last season. I even crowned him the ‘Junk Yard Dog” while in training camp, but then, once again, the injury bug crept in. It started with a calf injury in the preseason, to which I thought “here we go again.” But Tapper rose above it and was ready by Week One for the New York Giants. Tapper showed the burst and bend in that particular game to leave you salivating for more. He ended the game with 3 total tackles and a sack. I remember coming away from that game thinking yes, we may have a “war daddy” in our midst finally. Unfortunately, it all came crumbling down. After the game, Tapper was seen on crutches and couldn’t put any weight on his right foot. Then came the news I didn’t want to hear: Charles Tapper had a broken bone in his foot and needed surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. The injury and subsequent surgery required a 10-12 week recovery period, effectively ending a promising start to an already injury-riddled career.
If you didn’t know already, Charles Tapper was the darling of the 2016 NFL Combine. Coming in at 6’2, 270 pounds, Tapper ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any defensive lineman there, clocking in at a blazing 4.59 seconds. This kid was a speed rusher with the measurables to wreak havoc on would-be quarterbacks, but a nagging back injury during training camp his rookie year was later diagnosed as (pars defect) that had gone unnoticed since birth, which forced him to miss considerable time and effectively ended his rookie season. He was placed on injured reserve September 28, 2016. I won’t say Tapper is at the crossroads in his career, because there have been plenty of NFL players that were injured early on in their careers, only to put the injury bug past them and go on to be very productive. I look at defensive end Demarcus Lawrence for example; broken foot first year, bad back in 2015-2016 and then last season, one in which he was finally healthy. Lawrence exploded with 14.5 sacks on the year and made his first Pro Bowl. Could the same happen for Tapper? I sure hope so and so do the Cowboys.
Year three is going to be critical for Tapper. You have a potential depth chart for Defensive End of Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory, and Taco Charlton, with the Cowboys also possibly drafting another Defensive End or two in this year’s draft. That means Tapper must stay healthy at all cost. As a fourth-round pick in 2016, his spot is far from guaranteed -even considering the flashes we’ve seen. Potential needs to turn into production. As a Cowboy fan, I no longer want to see players stay injured the whole time they are with the Cowboys, only to get cut and go somewhere else and ball out. So for me, it is “Now or Never” Mr.Tapper. Now let’s do this. Go Cowboys.