Let me preface this by saying Charles Tapper had a good game Saturday night against the Indianapolis Colts. He entered the contest in the middle of third quarter and mostly played against third and fourth stringers. Still, I saw him hit the opposing quarterback twice and cause several pressures.
That being said, I think his overall performance through the first three games of the preseason has been far less than what many in the Dallas Cowboys media likely led us to believe. Basically, Tapper was overhyped. That’s certainly not the player’s fault, but it’s reality.
Based on what I’ve seen, Tapper certainly looks quick against substandard competition. But he has yet to make any plays that really stand out. His play is that of a young defender on the roster bubble. But some seemed to believe Tapper could be a candidate to start at right defensive end this season. Really?
I understand that, like his teammate linebacker Jaylon Smith, Tapper hasn’t played actual football in well over a year due to a back condition (Pars defect). And unlike Smith, who was a high second round selection, the former Oklahoma defender was a 2016 fourth round, developmental project.
But Tapper was also touted to be an athletic freak that ran a 4.59 forty at 6-foot-2, 270 pounds. And his first step was supposed to resemble lightning. Instead, it appears “Tap” has been body-snatched, and we’ve been giving just another ho-hum pass rusher in his place. Now a recent hip issue could be to blame for his slow start. But I don’t want to make excuses for him.
I’m certainly not saying the Cowboys should give up on the 24-year old Tapper. I’m not even saying I’m giving up hope he’ll live up to his potential.
I’m just pointing out that his initial play has been a bit of a disappointment. Especially for those who believed he could be the “war daddy” for the Dallas defense this season. And maybe that’s our fault for being more enamored by his traits than his actual production.