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.
The #Cowboys had three first-round grades on DEs, but Taco Charlton wasn't one of them.
— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) April 28, 2017
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.
Jerry Jones on Taco: "This guy was as healthy as any defensive linemen we looked at. That was important for us."
— Brandon George (@DMN_George) April 28, 2017
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?