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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: DE Taco Charlton Not Among Players with 1st Round Grades

Sean Martin



Ever since Mason Crosby split the uprights from 52 yards out at AT&T Stadium to eliminate the Dallas Cowboys from the playoffs in 2016, Cowboys Nation has screamed, begged, and obsessed over finding a pass rush to avenge losses like this to elite quarterbacks such as Aaron Rodgers. Last night, the Cowboys addressed this pass rush by selecting Michigan DE Taco Charlton with the 28th overall pick, and the reaction was anything but overwhelmingly positive.

Charlton is a fresh face for Rod Marinelli to mold into an NFL pass rusher, looking the part at 6055, 277 pounds with 34 1/4 inch arms. With 18.5 sacks over four years at Michigan, Taco wasn't an elite sack-master by any means, but will come to a Dallas team with a high floor ready to take full advantage of the snaps available for him - of which there should be plenty.

Surrounding all of these positives that have shined through a window of second guessing with "what could have been" at pick #28 rears an ugly reality though, in that the Cowboys reportedly window dressed their board to select the big-school prospect in Charlton against other first round players remaining.

Drew Davison on Twitter

The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.

Popular names like T.J, Watt, Kevin King, Tyus Bowser, and Jordan Willis remained on Dallas' draft board when they selected Taco Charlton - as did other pass rushers graded higher.

Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli has had a lot of say in the Cowboys war room over the past seasons when it comes to selecting the defensive ends he feels he can develop. Taco Charlton's selection marks the first time since 2007 the Cowboys have spent their first round pick on a pass rusher, and it certainly appears that Marinelli had a large say in who his "war daddy" would be.

Brandon George on Twitter

Jerry Jones on Taco: "This guy was as healthy as any defensive linemen we looked at. That was important for us.

Jerry and the rest of the Dallas Cowboys front office have of course fully supported drafting Taco Charlton, who won out in the war room perhaps not solely because of Marinelli but also due to Dallas' desperate need at his position. Circling back to the fearsome pass rush that we all want this team to have, the first step of adding talent to any unit is to add capable players, and Taco will be just that at DE come the start of 2017 for the Cowboys.

So no, the Cowboys did not come away with a first round player last night - something almost expected down at pick #28. They did come away with a guy that will get after opposing quarterbacks with a star on his helmet, and that's all we really wanted in the end -- isn't it?

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys Draft: DE Taco Charlton Not Among Players with 1st Round Grades" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

Born January 28th, 1996- Cowboys Super Bowl XXX. Point Pleasant NJ, no we're not how you think we are. Host of "Upon Further Review" on 90.3 WMSC FM and every Friday from 1-4 PM ET. You may @ me: @SeanMartinNFL.

  • Jess Haynie

    Let’s get real about this. If they had three 1st-round grades on DEs then two of them were Myles Garrett and Solomon Thomas. We never had a shot at them, anyway. So who was #3? Maybe it was Jonathan Allen, who was listed as a DE throughout the draft process but is really a DT in our scheme.

    That third guy also might have been Derek Barnett, Charles Harris, or Takkarist McKinley. None of them made it to #28, so the truth is that we weren’t going to get a “1st round DE” without trading up.

    What we do know is that they had a shot at T.J. Watt, Tyus Bowser, and other guys and still picked Taco. They must see something they like.

    • Kevin Black

      They said in their press conference that only one player was left on their board with a first round grade and that was Kevin King.

  • dallas1966

    I agree with Jess, Coach Marinelli, must have seen something in Taco, that persuade Coach, to believe that Tsco has the “it” factors, to be successful in the NFL.

    With Charles Haley, D-Ware, Coach Marinelli, Lett, and left offensive tackle Tyron Smith, will bring out the beast in Taco, to be the Pro Bowl War Daddy, Jerry has been searching for.

    Don’t forget Randy Gregory, is still a member of the Cowboys. Can you imagine a defensive front of Irving, Lawrence ( if healthy), Gregory, Tapper, Crawford, and the others, in 2018.

  • Kevin Black

    Jerry’s statement says it all: “This guy was as healthy as any defensive linemen we looked at. That was important for us.”

    This is a replacement for Tank Lawrence, plain and simple.

NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott

Sean Martin



2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott
(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire)

With more pressing needs on offense at guard and wide receiver, and defensively at DE or LB, the Cowboys' concerning lack of proven ability at safety has taken a backseat in this offseason's roster build. With the expectation that new Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard will elevate the play of the entire Cowboys' secondary, the team is doing their due diligence on safeties available in the 2018 NFL Draft - starting with Texas' DeShon Elliott.

Josh Norris on Twitter

It appears Texas S DeShon Elliott is visiting the #Cowboys today

With 63 tackles and six interceptions in his final season at Texas, Elliott took full advantage of being a starter in the Big 12 for the first time in his career, flying onto the NFL Draft scene.

Elliott is a well-balanced, average athlete with the upside to be targeted late in April's draft and make a difference.

If they had to play a game tomorrow, the Cowboys would be rolling with Jeff Heath, Xavier Woods, and Kavon Frazier at safety.

Finding an expanded role this season for Frazier should be a priority in Dallas, as should supplementing Heath and Woods with additional talent. DeShon Elliott would fit this group well, along with the Cowboys' scheme, given his range and disruptive ability.

Should Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, Anthony Brown, and now Byron Jones help the Cowboys reach their full potential at CB, the Cowboys safeties will not be tested in single coverage up the field often. This is an area that Elliott was exploited in at Texas plenty of times, performing better as a true free safety or second-level player.

Continuing to add young talent at the right price is key to the Cowboys' ongoing rebuild on defense, now visiting with a local safety prospect that should be available to them in the later rounds. Texas' DeShon Elliott is officially a name to consider come draft week in Dallas.

Tell us what you think about "2018 NFL Draft: Dallas Cowboys Meeting with Texas Safety DeShon Elliott" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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NFL Draft

Cowboys Draft: PSU WR DaeSean Hamilton Fits Cowboys’ “Type”

Kevin Brady



Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Last week, I detailed what the Cowboys tend to look for when drafting a wide receiver. In terms of a combine profile, Dallas clearly has a "type" of wide-out they like to target.

The Cowboys certainly need to upgrade their receiving corps, but with the plethora of other holes to fill, they may not be able to do so until the 3rd or 4th round. Luckily for the Cowboys, there is at least one receiver which both fits their profile and should be available early on day three.

That player is Penn State wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton.

Kevin Brady on Twitter

Working on something for @InsideTheStarDC... here's the height, weight, 40 time, and 3 cone for every WR DAL has taken since 2010.

First, let's re-examine what the Cowboys like to look for. As you can see from the above graphic, the Cowboys draft targets all seem to fit a similar profile. If we treat Dez Bryant as their "ideal" draft pick, the trends become even clearer. Dallas wants to find a wide-out who is about 6'1" 205 pounds, runs nearly a 4.5 40 yard dash, and about a 6.9 three come time.

DeaSean Hamilton, coincidentally, is 6'1" 203 pounds, ran a 4.47 40 yard dash at the Penn State pro day, and ran a 6.84 three cone at the combine. Penn State's all time receptions leader stole the show at the 2018 Senior Bowl, putting all of "Draft Twitter" on notice to his talent.

An efficient and smooth route runner, Hamilton looks natural coming in and out of breaks, creating separation with his precise routes. The Cowboys don't have many receivers on their roster who can win with their route running, and adding a player like Hamilton would greatly help third year quarterback Dak Prescott moving forward.

With the ability to play in the slot, as well as potentially being a Z receiver for the Cowboys and a replacement for Terrance Williams, Hamilton would be an excellent draft target in the third or fourth round. And, keeping in mind how nicely he fits their typical draft profile, I'd expect Dallas to target Hamilton during the 2018 NFL Draft.

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NFL Draft

Dallas Cowboys Mock Drafts Address Needs at 3 Different Positions

Sean Martin



Dallas Cowboys Mock Drafts Address Needs at 3 Different Positions

"Tier two" of NFL Free Agency is here, meaning the Dallas Cowboys can set their sights on adding depth and filling the holes left by departed FAs Anthony Hitchens and Jonathan Cooper.

It may take another week for mock drafts to reflect the losses of both starters by the Cowboys, but the ongoing draft process does not slow down at any point. A few of the names the Cowboys will bring in for pre-draft 30 visits have already been released, and this week's roundup of national mock drafts continues to address the overall needs on this Dallas roster.

CBS Sports: Calvin Ridley, WR - Alabama

CBS Sports' R.J. White:

"Ridley's stock is down after an unimpressive combine, but the Cowboys decided to use one of their predraft visits on the talented wideout, who might not fall any further than this pick. Considering wide receiver is one of the team's biggest needs, they could jump at the chance to draft Ridley, who could eventually take over the No. 1 role if the Cowboys move on from Dez Bryant next offseason, which would save them more than $12 million on the cap."


The Dallas Cowboys will be meeting with free agent WR Allen Hurns today, a tangible second receiver that could immediately upgrade Terrance Williams' position. Hurns, unlike the lesser-known pass catchers the Cowboys looked at previously in free agency, may have enough talent entering his fifth season to take Calvin Ridley out of consideration in the first round.

For now, Ridley should absolutely remain in the conversation as this draft's top receiver. Frequently finding his way to the Cowboys in many post-Combine mock drafts, the Alabama star is just getting started in reaching his football potential and becoming an option for Dak Prescott on the outside.

Draft Wire: Vita Vea, DT - Washington

USA Today Draft Wire's Jacob Infante:

"Vea could realistically go higher than No. 19, but there may not be a ton of teams willing to draft a nose tackle early on in the draft. Vea’s much different from the average nose tackle, though, which is something the Cowboys would see firsthand if they were to pick him."


The hype for Vita Vea as a prospective Dallas Cowboys target has died down ever since Stephen Jones mentioned the team's preference to find 1T DTs with the traits to also rush the passer as a 3T. Simply being "different from the average nose tackle," as Infante writes here, may not be enough for Vea to be selected at 19th overall by the Cowboys.

Should the Cowboys be surprisingly wiped out at both guard and linebacker on their board, considering a rare prospect like Vea and the impact he could make in Rod Marinelli's scheme could become much more realistic though.

An investment like Vea at nose tackle feels like the safest way for the Cowboys to protect their franchise tag investment on DE DeMarcus Lawrence - while also potentially boosting the play of Maliek Collins and David Irving inside at DT.

Drafttek: Isaiah Wynn, G - Georgia

Drafttek's Long Ball:

"... Isaiah Wynn played LOT for the SEC Champion and National Champion runner-up Georgia Bulldogs. Bill O'Brien's South coaching staff moved Wynn inside and he was easily the most impressive interior OL prospect during practice sessions..."


This would be one of the highest value picks the Dallas Cowboys could make at 19th overall. As it stands today, this team is in need of a starting left guard they can trust, which Isaiah Wynn can be from day one at the next level.

Despite their clear need up front, using another first round pick on an offensive lineman will surely generate some eyes rolls around Dallas on draft night. As if his mauling style of play and NFL-ready build aren't enough for the Cowboys to sell their fans on Wynn, his flexibility to provide needed depth at OT puts this Georgia product over the top.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

Recent trades by the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills to shake up the draft order may just be scratching the surface for the run of quarterbacks that takes place annually atop each draft. With as many as five QBs coming off the board prior to the Cowboys' first pick, their ability to add a quality starter at a position of need looks good.

Exactly what these positions of need will be by the end of free agency, and which prospects fill needs in Dallas, will update weekly as we continue to prepare you for the 2018 NFL Draft here at Inside The Star.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Mock Drafts Address Needs at 3 Different Positions" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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