Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end Charles Tapper is ready to tackle the 2017 offseason.

With the list of possible Cowboys free agent returnees dwindling by the day, the Dallas pass rush is looking weaker than ever. Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and the rest of the Cowboys coaching staff will be looking to bring out the best in the talent they have. Rookie defensive end Charles Tapper was unable to play in 2016 due to a birth defect called an “L5 Pars defect.” Tapper is now medically cleared to play and ready to finally contribute to the Cowboys success in 2017. Talking with¬†ESPN radio’s “J Dub City” with Jean-Jacques Taylor and Will Chambers this week, Tapper says he’s feeling great.¬†

Right now I’m feeling better than I ever felt in my life condition-wise, core-wise, strength, flexibility and everything.

Tapper, 23, feels he’ll be a significant addition to the Cowboys defensive unit. When asked what he feels he can contribute, Tapper said, “Exactly what you said: get after the quarterback. Marinelli has given us a lot of keys and tools to rush this quarterback. There’s a lot of things that I wish I knew in college. Playing for the Cowboys they give me the freedom at the five-technique to kind of just rush the passer and have fun doing it. So I’m just having fun rushing the passer where OU was like kind of a two-gap. I just took up blocks there. Now it’s be a athlete, have fun and win some one-on-ones. It’s kind of like one-on-one basketball and that’s what I’m used to.”

Not only does Tapper know he will be able to make an impact for the Dallas pass rush, he believes his speed will be an asset to the team. Sharing what his best quality is, Tapper stated, “My speed. And I have big powerful hands. When I use that speed and get those powerful hands on some offensive linemen it kinda throws them off because somebody that strong shouldn’t be able to move that fast. Or somebody that fast shouldn’t have that much power or pop to ’em. It’s kind of the combination of speed and power.”

After taking an entire season to heal, Tapper feels he’s learned a lot during his time off. Sharing that he’s learned how to be patient, Tapper reflected, “Patience. I learned so much patience. Patience, I feel like, is the key to life. If you can learn how to be patient and understand that God has everything planned for you it makes life and football easier. On the field you’re going to be thrown a lot of different obstacles and different challenges on the field. You just have to be patient, think about it and then react. This offseason, I call it my offseason, I’ve been working so hard. During the season it was like a mini-offseason for me and Jaylon [Smith]. … I can’t wait to get on the field and see how I look now.”

You can listen to the entire interview by hitting the play button below.

Lauren Scullion is a lifelong Cowboys fan, secret Packers fan, Dallas Cowboys/ NFL writer, social media guru and NFC East know-it-all.