In the 2017 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys went all in on the defense. All their picks except for two were for defensive players, with Dallas loading up on cornerbacks and defensive linemen. However, there are two defensive players that Dallas drafted back in 2016 that have yet to make their marks for the Cowboys and that might all change this season. Both Jaylon Smith and Charles Tapper spent 2016 injured and are ready to make their big debuts in 2017 for what they hope are leading roles.

Jaylon Smith

Jaylon Smith was a second round pick in 2016 and the Dallas Cowboys knew that he would not play at all last season.

Smith was a lock for the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft but he suffered nerve damage in his left knee and there was a chance that he would never play football again. After doing their due diligence, the Cowboys decided he was worth the risk and drafted him knowing they would essentially red-shirt him the first season in the NFL. The Cowboys really need to find a solid third linebacker and Smith might be the perfect person to team with Sean Lee. The problem is that Smith has drop foot from his nerve damage and still wears a brace. The good news is that both Cowboys trainers and doctors believe he can play with a brace but the question is whether or not he can play at the high level he did in college.

If he can prove himself, he will immediately challenge Anthony Hitchens and possibly push Damien Wilson out of a job.

Charles Tapper

The second name on the list is Charles Tapper. He was a defensive end with the Oklahoma Sooners and the Dallas Cowboys chose him with their first fourth-round pick last season.

Most people thought that Tapper would be an early round pick but he played in a 3-4 defense his final season with the Oklahoma Sooners and that hurt his draft stock because he is a 4-3 defensive end and his numbers suffered. Dallas wanted to put him in their 4-3 scheme but Tapper was knocked out of the season with back injury.

If Tapper comes back full strength from that injury, he can play end on both sides of the line and could be a huge addition to a Cowboys defense that really needs playmakers. With Randy Gregory's career possibly over with due to repeated drug test failures and suspensions, Dallas needs a quality defensive lineman. Most people think that Taco Charlton will be an immediate starter but if DeMarcus Lawrence struggles to come back this year, Charles Tapper could be a huge player to watch in 2017.

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