The 2016 NFL draft class is very deep along the defensive line which is great news for the Bills. Not only do the Bills need to find a starter, but they need to fill some depth as well. The Bills’ scouts will have to earn their money to find a player that may not possess the top tier talent at the position, but has tools that coaches can work with. One player that fits that category is defensive end Charles Tapper.
Tapper was a three year starter for the Oklahoma Sooners and a mainstay along the defensive line. He primarily lined up as a 5/4i technique defensive end. He had his best season in 2015 putting up 50 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 7 sacks (36th in nation) and four forced fumbles.
Here he shows off a spin move to get one of his three sacks versus the Jayhawks.
Heady play to rip the ball out.
Tapper isn’t elite at any one skill but he is a well rounded prospect that needs to be coached up. On this play all he had to do is rip and he could’ve gotten to the QB. He needs to be taught the finer skills of being an effective pass rusher.
The senior defensive lineman caught the eyes of many scouts at the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine. Tapper put up some great metrics at the NFL Scouting Combine, he measured in at 6’3″, 271 pounds, ran a 4.59 forty yard dash, displayed an arm length of 34 1/8″, and a vertical jump of 34.
On this play from 2013, he recognizes the screen and then chases Amari Cooper down from behind. That is the kind of linear speed that made scouts go back and watch his film.
When you compare his measureables to other defensive ends he is similar to some very productive players, take a look at his web courtesy of Mockdraftable.com:
As you can see he has some raw measureables that many coaches like and could work with. Tapper is projected as a day three pick. He fits the scheme and could be added as a player to be inserted in certain situations.
At Oklahoma he often had responsibilities as a contain/rush player.
He is sort of a tweener, he doesn’t quite have the size to be a full time defensive end in a 3-4. You can see how back in 2013 he was eaten up by Cyrus Kouandjo but still manages to make a play.
Tapper shows how he can use his long arms to keep lineman at bay.
Although he doesn’t have the ideal size or strength of a 5 tech defensive end he is able to get under the pads of lineman. His best pass rush move is the bull rush.
He feasted on an inexperienced left side of the Jayhawks line.
He was listed over 280 pounds his senior year, but then weighed in at 271 pounds at the combine. He came in lighter to run faster and to keep 4-3 teams interested in him as a defensive end prospect. In this clip from 2013 he looked a lot quicker than in 2015. The leaner Tapper showed much better change of direction ability.
The problem with Tapper is that he plays with terrible pad level. Pair that with the no explosiveness and you have a very limited player. The former Sooner is a guy that teams will covet as a back-up player because he could play in any scheme. Those teams will have to bring him in and then decide whether to have him lose weight or gain some depending on the scheme. His best two attributes are his motor and his lower body power. He didn’t test really well in the bench press but he is able to use his legs to convert his pass rush to power.
Tapper is a guy that the Bills are planning on meeting with prior to the draft, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them take a flyer on him on day three. They need to replenish the depth along the defensive line and he is a guy that new coach John Blake could coach up and develop.
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