The Dallas Cowboys absolutely had to try to address their biggest weakness at some point during the off-season, and tried to do so when they drafted defensive end Taco Charlton with the 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The selection of Charlton received mostly a “meh” (shrugs shoulders) reaction from a lot of Cowboys Nation, but one NFL insider believes the former Michigan Wolverine could win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The Dallas Cowboys are no strangers to having Rookie of the Year candidates. Last year alone both Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott were both worthy of the award and were even in the conversation for NFL MVP. But, the Cowboys 2017 draft class didn't really seem to have the same kind of impact players as last season.
Of course, everyone is hoping Taco Charlton can come in and dominate as a rookie, thus improving the Cowboys pass rush. But, defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli really likes to rotate his defensive lineman in order to keep them fresh as possible. That could possibly hurt Charlton's chances, but he should receive plenty of playing time.
Taking all that into account though, NFL insider Elliot Harrison still believes Charlton wins Defensive Rookie of the Year.
“No rookie is an a better position to help his team immediately than Charlton — and no team needs more help from a rookie than Dallas does from Charlton,” wrote NFL insider Elliot Harris on the league's official website. “The Cowboys recorded 36 sacks last season, a so-so figure made decisively less relevant by the fact opposing quarterbacks attempted 633 passes against them. Moreover, the team's leading ‘edge rusher' (a term I use generously), Benson Mayowa, garnered six whole sacks. Get excited. Charlton was an impact player at Michigan, a football powerhouse. He's a full-time player.”
Cowboys fans are certainly hoping that Elliott Harris is right and Taco Charlton is able to come in and be an immediate impact pass rusher. That would certainly help the entire defense, especially when you consider the massive overhaul the secondary is going through.
For Taco Charlton to win this prestigious award, he is going to have to beat out of a lot of talented players who were drafted higher. Myles Garrett, Derek Barnett, Takkarist McKinley, and Charles Harris were all drafted higher and thought to be more talented. But, none of that will matter when the 2017 season finally gets underway.
The Dallas Cowboys and their fans are certainly hoping Elliot Harris is right and Taco Charlton wins the Defensive Rookie of the Year. That would mean the Cowboys defense have improved at an area of weakness and the team has found yet another impact player.