After a stellar career at Michigan, Taco Charlton entered the 2017 NFL Draft and was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 28th overall pick. Charlton is a smooth athlete who has the length and size 4-3 defensive coordinators look for in a defensive end. His main issue is his inconsistent play on the field. At times he’ll look absolutely dominant, while other times he will completely disappear from games.
As a pass rusher, Taco usually wins with power and length on a speed-to-power conversion. He doesn’t have a dynamic first step, only running a 4.92 second 40-yard dash, but he still times the snap well and can get an offensive tackle retreating on his heels. In addition to his speed-to-power conversion, Taco has a dangerous spin move. If he can perfect his hand usage, it looks like he has a lethal pair of pass rushing moves that will translate well in the NFL.
As a run defender, Charlton is very aware and does a good job of tracking the ball. However, he is a bit inconsistent with using his length at the point of attack. Also, he has trouble with power running plays where he misdiagnoses and loses his contain responsibilities.
For his pro comparison, I think his game is most similar to Charles Johnson from the Carolina Panthers. While they differ in size, neither are flashy players. They both have the physicality to hold up at point of attack if they use their length properly.
It took Johnson a few years to find his rhythm in the NFL, but he has been a very underrated part of the Panthers’ defense for the last decade. As far as Taco is concerned, he fits the length and size profile Rod Marinelli likes in his defensive ends. In their 4-3 Over scheme, he could be a good building block as the Cowboys try to improve their front seven.
Overall, I gave this pick a “B”. He’s a good scheme fit and with an early second round grade from me, he was picked right in line with where I had him going in the draft. If Charlton can become more consistent with his hand usage and refine his pass rush techniques, he could become a great player for Dallas.