Gut-Reaction: The Day After DE Taco Charlton Became A Cowboy ⋆
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Gut-Reaction: The Day After DE Taco Charlton Became A Cowboy

Gut-Reaction: The Day After DE Taco Charlton Became A Cowboy

NFL Draft

Gut-Reaction: The Day After DE Taco Charlton Became A Cowboy

Gut-Reaction: The Day After DE Taco Charlton Became A Cowboy

Going into day one of the 2017 NFL Draft, the entire world knew the Cowboys were looking to add their “war daddy” defensive end over any other position.

In fact, it seemed clear the Atlanta Falcons knew this as well, trading in front of the Cowboys to snag the highly touted UCLA pass rusher Takkarist McKinley.

So, with both Takk and Missouri’s Charles Harris off the board, it appeared the Cowboys may look towards Washington corner Kevin King instead. Or, if Cowboys Twitter got their way, they’d go after a 3-4 OLB who could convert to RDE and rush the passer off their athleticism.

Shocking the universe, the Cowboys selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton with their first round pick. And, not taking well to the surprise, much of Cowboys Nation made their distaste for the pick felt on various forms of social media and blogs.

And to be honest, it was hard to blame them for doing so.

Taco Charlton

DE Taco Charlton is now a Dallas Cowboy.

Months had been spent scouting these edge rushers, looking for the explosive and athletic end who could give the Cowboys an element to their defense they haven’t had in years. But instead they prioritized length, height, and weight over 3-cone times and bend.

While the initial reaction to the pick was disappointment for many, there is still reason to feel good about the pick for Cowboys fans.

First off, Taco Charlton’s flashes on tape are really good. Inconsistent in his pass rush at times, Charlton does flash the ability to be a top-tier defensive end and pass rusher at the next level. Using his length and strength to his advantage, I saw Charlton overpower offensive tackles at the college level, and win with rip-moves here and there.

And with some coaching from Rod Marinelli, he could be a solid rusher off the left edge for years to come.

2017 DE Taco Charlton Vs Ohio State – Streamable

Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.

Just as the top-level flashes are clear, so are the flaws as well. He clearly is not the athletic rusher that a Takkarist McKinley or Tyus Bowser is, lacking the lateral quickness, change of direction, and bend that you’d like to see from your right defensive end.

Without having that ability to speed rush, I don’t know how you can expect Charlton to fill the Cowboys’ need adequately. He looks more like another one of the rotational ends than he does a player who can separate himself from the pack.

Because of where the Cowboys selected him, it appears they have faith he can be the RDE that I frankly don’t think he can be. So, he will undoubtedly get his chances to prove me, and a lot of the draft evaluators, wrong this Fall.

My gut still says he will be delegated to the left side in time, however, which brings up a secondary problem.

What are we doing with all of these LDE’s?

We don’t have enough information to say that Taco Charlton is better than David Irving yet, and if he’s not, then the Cowboys may have botched their first round pick. Because at the end of the day, spending a first round pick on a player who isn’t guaranteed to beat out the current edge defender doesn’t seem like a great idea.

Still, I do trust Will McClay and the Cowboys coaching staff. They feel they have a plan for utilizing Taco Charlton, and I am anxious to see what that plan will look like.

At worst, the Cowboys just added a solid rotational defensive end. At best, they probably found their starting LDE for a while. So, while drafting a player like Tyus Bowser would’ve brought a higher ceiling, they have prioritized size and a high floor over that athletic potential.

As a fan, I hope it works out.

Kevin Brady

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and am currently a college student. Lets get going.

8 Comments
  • dallas1966

    Kevin, don’t worry, I too wanted that rocket at RDE. I yhink, the Cowboys are planning long term. Remember, the Cowboys still have Randy Gregory, on the roster. Gregory, will more mature both mentally and physically in 2018. Jerry still believe that Gregory, will work out in the long rum, that is why the Cowboys haven’t cut the cord on Gregory.

    The Cowboys are planning to be dominant for the long haul, which is a good thing. The more dominant the Cowboys, the better for the NFL, in terms of sponsors and Tv ratings. $$$$$

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      That is very true about Gregory. I just worry that we can’t depend on him to be available. Still, a DL with Gregory at RDE and Taco at LDE would be very good.

  • Russ_Te

    I detest going over to DMN, but here is what I posted there. Brady has it right:

    NFL write-up: Tons of athletic ability & burst, but inconsistent and still developing his game. So that is a project player and – like Paxton Lynch last year – not worthy of any 1st round pick.

    http://www.nfl.com/draft/2017/profiles/taco-charlton?id=2557882

    Then you pull up his highlights. Sorry, I see a lumbering LDE and not tons of burst. The Cowboys have 2 good LDE’s now in Lawrence and Irving. Taco is not a Harvey Martin or Demarcus Ware type of RDE.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M5WconC1SOg

    Will be happy to be wrong, but I wouldn’t even use a #3 on this player.

    • https://kevinrobertbrady.wordpress.com Kevin Brady

      Thanks, Russ. I really hope we are proven wrong, but hard to get excited about the pick. Still two days left to draft though.

  • Russ_Te

    So there are 2 possibilities really – and they emanate from the Cowboys’ belief in taking an athlete they can coach up:

    – They see some kind of re-invention of RDE that has to do with bull rushing the LT. I will be happy to see that & be proven wrong that Charlton is a reach in Round 1.

    – You’re moving him inside. That I can see. Burn your 1st round pick on that? If you tell me nobody better was on the board, then OK.

    So far I do not like the pick.

    • Kevin Black

      They passed one player that had a first round grade on their board. That’s never a good strategy. They reached for need. Good teams don’t do that.

  • Kevin Black

    This pick was to protect themselves from Tank Lawrence who’s body is breaking down.

  • Travis Diggs

    Relax cowboys nation Taco is a solid pick up Not the splash pick Everybody was expecting But a solid upgrade over anyone on this roster for a key need on a defense that has to get better with their pass rush. I personally would of went with Kevin King but With that Aaron Rodgers scramble pass in the playoffs still playing in my head I not upset with the pick, I trust Will McClay and Stephen Jones. They don’t always pick the most flashy players but somehow they have gotten the most out of these guys of recent

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