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Cowboys Offseason Regrets: No Impact From 1st-Round Pick

Jess Haynie

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Cowboys Minicamp: Taco Charlton Impresses At LDE, Who Emerges At RDE? 1

This is the second of a five-part series looking at decisions the Dallas Cowboys made during the 2017 offseason that they may now regret. On Monday, we looked at the changes on the offensive line.

"With the 28th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys select... Taco Charlton... defensive end, Michigan."

Those words from Lord Roger caused immediate debate and even despair among Cowboys fans. Many had clamored for Dallas to take a different pass rusher, T.J. Watt, and they felt Dallas erred by taking Taco Charlton when Watt was still on the board. He went two spots later to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Watt-wanting crowd will quickly tell you that T.J. has five sacks this season compared to just two for Charlton. There's no denying that, but it's worth nothing that Watt has been on the field for 562 snaps compared to just 283 for Taco.

Taco Charlton, Rams

DE Taco Charlton

Don't let anyone tell you that Taco Charlton is a bust based on the first 12 games of his NFL career. That's stupid analysis for any player, and especially one who was known to need some time and development when he was drafted.

Greg Ellis, who was taken eighth overall in 1998, started all 16 games as a rookie and only had three sacks. This was a Top-10 player and the guy that Dallas chose over eminent Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss. Ellis got hit with even harder criticism than what Taco's had this year.

Ellis finished his time in Dallas in 2008 with 77 career sacks, putting him third all-time in team history behind DeMarcus Ware and Jim Jeffcoat.

The book is hardly written for Taco Charlton as a Cowboy. He could develop into a double-digit sack man and wind up somewhere around Ellis and Jeffcoat one day on that list (I think D-Ware is safe). He could wind up being great value for a late first-rounder.

But really, this isn't about Taco's future, T.J. Watt, or the price of tea in China.  It's about the undeniable fact that the Cowboys, who didn't have the cap space to bring in a high-impact free agent, used their first-round pick on a project player. That's what's hurting them right now.

 

Reuben Foster, 49ers

49ers LB Reuben Foster

Taken three picks after Taco Charlton went to Dallas, the 49ers' Reuben Foster is a great example of a guy who could be helping the Cowboys as we speak. After missing the early part of the year with injuries, Foster has recorded 14 and 10 tackles in recent weeks and has taken over the role that Navarro Bowman held for many years.

The Cowboys sure could've used a guy like Foster while Sean Lee's been out. Even if you think Jaylon Smith will eventually be the guy, Foster could help right now and become another star in the middle of the defense in the near future.

Or how about OT Ryan Ramczyk, who has started all 12 games for the Saints at right tackle? Dallas could've replaced Doug Free and kept La'el Collins at left guard. Less moving parts might've helped the run game's efficiency early in the year, perhaps helping Dallas win those close games against the Rams and Packers.

If nothing else, taking Ramczyk or maybe Cam Robinson would mean paying a first-round talent an average of $2.5 million to be their starting right tackle for the next four years. You'd have a key position covered, on the cheap, until the 2021 offseason.

In either case, Dallas would be getting far more immediate benefit from that 28th pick than what Taco Charlton is giving. For a 6-6 team trying to scrape their way into the playoffs, anything that might've tipped a game or two in their favor would have been preferable.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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10 Comments
  • BigD

    I agree, we needed a producer in the 1st round. Everybody knew that wasn’t going to be Taco. Yes, Taco might get better down the road but the same can be said of Watt. The main problem is, there were better prospects available and players that would be starting. Cant draft a project in the 1st round when you already have Jaylon and Gregory on the team. This team never learns.

  • Randy Martin

    As most of us know, the DE position takes time. Could they have taken a more immediate path to success? Probably. Would TJ Watt have been a better choice. Honestly, it’s hard to say as it may be a matter of scheme fit. As a side note I thought I read recently that McClay was pushing for Watt at that pick and Garrett was pounding the table for Charlton. It’s been an odd season and I really liked Charlton in his last game. Let’s see what develops but a bust he is not!

    • Tone’ Cyphers

      I agree with what you said. Taco has been improving as of late. He’s been close to getting sacks but just hasn’t had as much success yet. Hopefully he develops into a more well rounded player like Lawrence so he can get more snaps in both running and passing downs. He just needs more time

  • pdstix78

    I thought you gotta get quality snaps on the field before being labeled a bust….

  • Andre Hickman

    The fact of the matter is Taco Charlton did not draft his self he should have been a third round draft pick at best the Cowboys made a mistake I think the jury is still out on TJ Watt

    • http://www.dallascowboyschat.com Cowboysdude

      This organization has done that a LOT over the last 20 years.

      • Andre Hickman

        What does that have to do with anything

        • blaine

          He made a statement regarding your original post. He stated that the Cowboys have reached for players in the draft in the past, which is what you alluded to with your post about Taco. It doesnt seem like a very valid statement, seeing as weve hit on players such as Smith, Bryant, Martin, etc. But be smarter about your replies, so to avoid sounding like a dick

          • Andre Hickman

            No he made a statement indicating that this organization has done a lot a lot of what? So again his comment has absolutely nothing to do with anything due to its vagueness. No on to your comment you mean to tell me that you can equate Taco Charlton a premier third-rounder getting drafted way too high what the likes of a Tyron Smith who won the Morris trophy in 2010. I can only assume you’re not being serious just as I can assume the same when you compare a taco Charlton to Zack Martin the same Zack Martin who blocked for a Notre Dame running game that averaged 4.8 yards a Carry. And I can only assume that you have misspoke when you compare a taco Charlton to a Dez Bryant a 2008 All-American a had he did not been suspended a 2009 candidate for the Heisman Trophy. So in closing how dare you try to call out the validity of my statement with some erroneous claim that you can compare Taco Charlton to those first-rounders. Taco Charlton is not a bust Taco Charlton was not a successful draft pick taco Charlton should have been drafted in the third round you take the best person on the board

  • John McClain

    Tj watt is a 34 outside linebacker too small for a 43 DE. As for Foster he’s a injury risk which almost all football teams had off their board which a good writer would have informed people in his article. As for right tackle you might be correct. McClay didn’t have Watt for the Cowboys maybe rated as a higher player but a different scheme.

Dallas Cowboys

2018 Cowboys: What can we Expect from the Rookies?

Shane Carter

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Cowboys Offense: Finding Roles for 2018 NFL Draft Picks 1

Every season, rookies come in with the pressures of being the future of the franchise and are often expected by everyone to be able to contribute right away. The Dallas Cowboys are no exception. Not many of these rookies will be day-one starters, but most will be given the opportunity to take playing time away from some of the veterans.

The team is without Dez Bryant, Jason Witten and Orlando Scandrick after years with the team. This season, there will be new faces getting more time due to the huge holes left by the departure of their aging vets.

Some rookies are going to be asked to start right away, while others are only going to play selectively. It's probable that all will see the field at some point this season, but only a few will need to make an immediate impact from day one.

Leighton Vander Esch

2018 NFL Combine: 3 LBs Who Impressed

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The Cowboys will  probably start off with Sean Lee, Jaylon Smith and Damien Wilson as the starters in the linebacker group. This means Leighton Vander Esch likely will come off the bench to fill in at both the MIKE and WILL linebacker spots in rotation.

It's uncertain which spot will be his spot for the future, but with the health history of Sean Lee and Jaylon Smith, Vander Esch is going to see plenty of time this season. Going forward, his true spot will reveal itself the more he plays.

Connor Williams

For Connor Williams, Being Shoulder to Shoulder with Tyron Smith is Nothing New

Cowboys G Connor Williams

Connor Williams is the only rookie that I'm comfortable saying is a day-one starter.

The only hole in the starting group among the offensive line was the left guard. Williams comes off a stellar college career at Texas where he only allowed one sack in his time there. Not only does Williams fill the final spot along the line, he could potentially be the next pro bowl offensive lineman among a group of already elite players.

His priority will be at left guard, but with the injury history to Tyron Smith, he also gives the Cowboys some extra insurance at left tackle. Connor Williams is not only a starter right away, but is probably the team's most valuable rookie.

Michael Gallup

Cowboys Land Small School WR In Latest PFF Mock Draft

Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post)

What Dak Prescott needed was players who are good at route running, separating from coverage and that don't drop passes. Michael Gallup checks all three boxes.

The starting trio of wide receivers at the moment looks like Allen Hurns and Terrance Williams on the outside, with Cole Beasley in the slot. I think it's likely that we see Gallup play all over the field given his versatility and Dallas's need for play-makers.

Gallup was among my top-5 best wide receiver prospects in the draft, so hopefully it doesn't sound too biased when I say, I expect Gallup to be one of Dak's most frequently targeted receivers this season.

The team doesn't have Dez Bryant, Brice Butler or Ryan Switzer anymore and the team needs to find their next number one. Gallup will be given a shot throughout the year to be just that.

Dorance Armstrong Jr.

Sean's Scout: Defensive End Dorance Armstrong Has Upside to Fill Marinelli's RotationThe good news for Dorance Armstrong's development is also bad news for his playing time; the Cowboys are flushed with defensive end talent and won't need his help very much right away.

With DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton, Tyrone Crawford, David Irving and Kony Ealy on the roster, it will be hard for Armstrong to get on the field much.

He likely won't get a lot of playing time this year, almost as a defacto red-shirt year, but he can use it as quality learning time and play some when needed.

Dalton Schultz

Sean's Scout: TE Dalton Schultz Fits Cowboys Need as Willing Blocker

Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz

Dalton Schultz may have lucked into a starting job. The retirements of James Hanna and Jason Witten created a huge gap for the Cowboys at their number one and two starting tight end spots. The team also has Rico Gathers, Blake Jarwin and Geoff Swaim on the roster, but it'll be interesting to see if Schultz not only has the blocking skills to take the number one spot, but also the receiving skills to do so.

The team may end up keeping all four tight ends but Schultz might be given every opportunity possible to earn a starting spot. If not, he'll take over Geoff Swaim's role as the third tight end, who only comes in on special teams and sub packages.

The hope is the former but he's going to see the field no matter what due to the large need at the position.

Mike White

Dallas Cowboys Draft QB Mike White With 171st Pick

Cowboys QB Mike White

Mike White was brought in to compete with Cooper Rush for the team's number two quarterback spot. He has the ball skills to compete for the position but he'll start off as the team's third string quarterback.

If he can push Rush the way Rush pushed Kellen Moore last season, the team may go another direction yet again at the back up position.

As a rookie, he may be stuck as the third quarterback, meaning he won't see any action at all in 2018, even in blowouts. He also likely won't be put on the practice squad neither, likely being too valuable of a prospect to let go. Don't expect to see White this season, aside from preseason.

Chris Covington

Dallas Cowboys Select LB Chris Covington With the 193rd Pick in the 2018 NFL Draft

Cowboys LB Chris Covington

Chris Covington gives the team valuable depth for the linebacker group. Except for injury, Covington will only be used on special teams or rotations. He was a late round pick, meaning he needs more time to develop than some of the other picks.

He may get his shot at a starting job in a year or two, but 2018 probably isn't his year. He's got plenty of talent but he isn't the rookie linebacker that will be given the most looks this off-season.

Cedrick Wilson

Cedrick Wilson is going to come in and play the position that Brice Butler had a season ago, but might have a higher ceiling thanks to his more impressive college career when compared to Butler's. He will be the team's deep threat and his skills compare to Michael Gallup.

While this year Wilson is likely the fourth or fifth wide receiver, and the team's deep threat option, by this time next season, we may see Wilson be named as the other starting wide receiver on the opposite side of Gallup. For this season though, he may not get as many chances early in the season as he will as the year goes along.

Bo Scarbrough

Cowboys Draft RB Bo Scarbrough with the 236th Pick in the 2018 NFL DraftThe team has its lead dog in Ezekiel Elliott, and their speed/receiving threat out of the backfield in Tavon Austin. Scarbrough will have to compete with Rod Smith as the team's short yardage back. Rod Smith gives the team position flexibility, and plays several different roles, which may give Scarbrough a chance.

He is not in any way going to take carries away from Elliott, and won't be the first change-of-pace option the team has, not with Tavon Austin. We may only see him 5-10 offensive plays a game, especially on two yards or less to gain, or maybe even goalline situations.

He was an exciting player at Alabama, but he'll be a role player in Dallas.


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Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary

Sean Martin

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Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary 1

The Dallas Cowboys best move of the offseason may very well be hiring Kris Richard as their new passing game coordinator. Despite not signing any free agents or drafting added talent for Richard to work with in the secondary, the Cowboys have plenty of reasons to feel great about their current starters - along with an intriguing class of UDFAs.

The prospects of Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Byron Jones, and Xavier Woods working with Richard to sharpen their skills with Seattle's "Legion of Boom" fabricator is as good as it gets. In a very short period of time, the cornerback position has turned into one of the hardest spots for fringe players to make the Dallas Cowboys roster.

Don't tell this to San Diego State's Kameron Kelly. Neither Richard or Kelly may be household names around the NFL, but San Francisco 49ers Cornerback Richard Sherman certainly is. Sherman also happens to be the player the Cowboys are looking for Kelly -- an undrafted free agent that didn't receive a single college offer from "power five" schools -- to emulate.

Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary

Dallas Cowboys Passing Game Cooridinator Kris Richard with Richard Sherman

Given all that Sherman meant to Richard's defenses since being drafted by his Seahawks in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, these feel like impossible expectations for Kelly to live up to.

The 6015 (6' 1 5/8") defender didn't even play the same position as Sherman until his final collegiate season, slowly making the transition from WR to DB at SDSU by starting as a Sophomore and Junior at safety.

Now just another player in a blue jersey with white numbers at The Star, Kelly is looking to earn the star on a team that may look to remain young, deep, and most importantly versatile in the secondary by keeping one or more UDFAs.

That is, if any of these long shot players deserve a spot on the final 53-man roster. Kelly already has an edge on this field, blessed with the length and daunting frame that allows Richard and the Cowboys to dream of featuring their own Richard Sherman.

"I think he’s trying to turn me into his next Richard Sherman or something". - Dallas Cowboys Cornerback Kameron Kelly

Kris Richard is going to coach everybody he comes across hard. He knows no other way. Kam Kelly is already embracing this, seeing the Cowboys vision for him and not backing down from the challenge.

Turn on the tape for this "diamond in the rough" prospect, and you'll see a player that carries this same competitive toughness onto the field.

Mike Mayock on Twitter

Will a DB compete / tackle ? Top of screen- flat footed read on bubble- trusts eyes and goes ! Just checking boxes- I see you, kameron Kelly of SDSU.... https://t.co/fJM4s16Eq1

Kelly joins Charvarius Ward, Donovan Olumba, and Tyree Robinson as the Cowboys class of UDFAs at both cornerback and safety. An athletic DB out of Oregon, Robinson has made a strong initial impression with several plays on the ball in drills so far.

However, it was Kam Kelly that set up an interception for Jameill Showers in yesterday's practice by getting in the face of rookie Wide Receiver Michael Gallup.

Projecting anything that resembles a starting lineup for the Cowboys defense in the last week of May is silly. So too is realistically expecting Kelly, Ward, Olumba, or Robinson to ever crack this lineup.

Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary 2

Dallas Cowboys CB Kameron Kelly

The Cowboys could find themselves without enough practice snaps to go around for starting caliber players like Awuzie, Lewis, Jones, Anthony Brown, and even Marquez White. This does not bode well for Kam Kelly, who is only going to continue generating buzz from fans and the Dallas media.

For now, Kelly is getting his chance though. The Cowboys are ever-so-slowly getting back into form for 2018 - doing so with many familiar faces no longer on the roster. This team is going to look different on both sides of the ball come September, and Cowboys Nation can only hope it's for the better given the impressive amount of depth all over the field.

Kam Kelly won't back down from the depth the Cowboys have at CB, expecting to impress his new coach Kris Richard in the mold of three-time All-Pro Richard Sherman.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Going Undrafted, Kameron Kelly A Welcome Addition to Cowboys Secondary" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Dallas Cowboys

WR Terrell Owens Featured As A Cowboy On Madden 2019 Cover

Kevin Brady

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Cowboys Blog - Getcha Popcorn Ready: Terrell Owens Is Greatest 81 In Dallas Cowboys History

It's been a tumultuous few years for former Cowboys wide receiver Terrell Owens, to say the least. Based on his numbers Owens deserved to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, but due to his off field "antics" and poor relationships with voters, Owens was kept out of the Hall of Fame until this year.

Now that he will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this Summer, Terrell Owens has earned another honor: cover athlete for EA Sports' upcoming Madden video game.

Madden has become a staple of football culture over the years, and being placed on the cover of their Hall of Fame edition is pretty special.

What came as a surprise, however, is that Terrell Owens is featured as a Dallas Cowboy on the cover of the game.

Bleacher Report on Twitter

@terrellowens will be on the cover of #Madden19 Hall of Fame edition

Terrell Owens played on a multitude of teams during his NFL career, spending 3 seasons with the Cowboys from 2006-2008. People tend to forget how great the Tony Romo-to-Terrell Owens connection was in Dallas, especially during their 13-3 2007 season.

That year, Owens caught 81 balls for 1,355 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also earned First Team All Pro honors during the same season.

This is the first time the Cowboys uniform has ever graced the cover of a Madden game, and the second time Terrell Owens will be on the cover of a professional football video game. The first time came as an Eagle on the cover of ESPN NFL 2K5, ironically just one year before Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was the cover athlete for Madden 2006.

Terrell Owens then announced the news himself on Twitter, by tweeting out the following video.

Terrell Owens on Twitter

It's that time! I've made my decision to return to football. Madden 19 HOF #stayready https://t.co/pLL4lTAhD2

Terrell Owens is arguably the greatest (talent wise) receiver to ever play for the Cowboys, though he lacked the longevity to match any of the stat totals of guys like Michael Irvin and Dez Bryant. It's a shame the 2007 season ended the way it did, and that 2008 was such an utter disaster.

Those Cowboys teams were really talented, hence why they won 11 games and another division crown after Owens' departure in 2009.


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