As the Ravens look to bolster their defense in this year's draft, they don't have to look too far for one player who could be a factor along the defensive line -- Baltimore native and Oklahoma defensive end Charles Tapper.
Tapper, who attended City College before going to Oklahoma, posted the best 40-yard dash time (4.59) of all defensive linemen at the Combine in February.
"I think (he) opened up a lot of people's eyes at the Combine," Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said earlier this week. "He's a competitive, tough guy on tape, and he's a good prospect."
Tapper, 6-foot-3 and 271 pounds, had seven sacks and 10 tackles for loss for the Sooners in 2015.
He projects as "a 4-3 defensive end, maybe a 3-4 outside linebacker," DeCosta said. He is ranked No. 10 among defensive ends by ESPN and is viewed as a middle-round pick, but speed has a way of helping a player's value.
The Ravens would appear to be pretty deep along the defensive line, but they are very much in the market for young outside linebackers. Courtney Upshaw went to the Falcons as a free agent, Terrell Suggs is coming off a second major Achilles injury and he and Elvis Dumervil are both on the high side of 30 years old.
Tapper, who said at the Combine that the Seahawks and Ravens had shown a lot of interest, said he hoped to use his speed to show his versatility and ability to play outside linebacker as well as along the line of scrimmage.
"Some teams have been saying I’m an outside linebacker," Tapper said according to a Combine transcript provided by the Pro Football Writers of America. "I’d prefer a five technique (defensive end) or an outside linebacker where I can ... show my athletic abilities and show that quickness that I have and that speed that I have."
As for returning to play for his hometown team?
“I would definitely love to be back home. ... It would be awesome to be in Baltimore.”
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