The NFL Combine is one of the most watched and excruciating processes for all college hopefuls hoping to achieve their dreams.
For one man that is the goal. Baltimore native Charles Tapper stood out at this year’s combine by doing very well for himself in all the combine drills.
Tapper like many who have dreams of playing in the NFL had to go through the process of working hard on and off the field in High School. He attended City College High School where he played tight-end and defensive line.
He was a two sport athlete playing basketball and football. He is good at both but he preferred the gridiron over the hardwood court. He saw himself having a better chance of making it in football.
During his last year at “City” Tapper was receiving some recognition from division one schools. He was also ranked 61 in the state in terms of overall best players. But to Charles that wasn’t enough.
He wanted to choose the best school for him academically and compete for a national title for the next four years. Eventually he chose The University of Oklahoma. There he would learn under well-respected head coach Bob Stoops.
Even though Tapper received praise for his decision not too many analysts were high on him going into his freshman year as an Oklahoma Sooner. There were others who did see a player who had the potential to be the best at his position.
Over the years he worked on his craft and every year he became a better player. Oklahoma would also compete for the national title but would come up one or two games short, keeping them voted out of the national title game. In 2013 and 2012 he received All Big-12 player honors.
He played in this year’s Senior Bowl but there was little talk about him due to this year’s loaded class of defensive lineman. That all changed on Sunday February 28, 2016. This was the day that all defensive lineman had to report to show if they have what it takes to play professional football.
Tapper did just that by running 4.59 on his 40 yard dash. This was great for him because not only did it show his great speed for a man his size but, this also made the scouts find out more about him and study his tape from college.
This raised his stock a lot but as those who watch the combine know speed isn’t always everything. A player still has to show their work on the other on-field drills.
Tapper did just that by dominating every other combine drill and showing his versatility. You could say that his basketball background helped out immensely. If there’s one thing NFL coaches love is big men who are light on their feet, have a motor, and have exceptional quickness for their big frame.
Tapper had a very good career at Oklahoma and all signs seem to show that he could also have a very good career in the NFL. Even though he didn’t win a national title at the college or high school level, his talent and impressive skills show that he can definitely help an NFL franchise on the next level.
Tapper is also joined by Cyrus Jones, another Baltimore native who’s well known for his skills from his days at Gillman High School. He’s considered one of the top defensive backs in this year’s draft. Jones just came off helping Alabama win the national title this past season. Jones, just like Tapper is a role model to many kids who want to make it out of the city of Baltimore and show the world what they can do. They both know very well that being drafted is only the first step.
*Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or the CCBC Connection.