USA Today Rick Osentoski

Why We're Not Fans Of Taco Charlton To Cowboys At 28

Why We're Not Fans Of Taco Charlton To Cowboys At 28. (Now, T.J. Watt? That's Another Story.)

While there is always going to be mystery when it comes to the NFL Draft, over the years the Dallas Cowboys have done their fans a bit of a favor and "tipped their hands,'' so to speak. Not only have they (not once,  or twice, but three times!) somehow via social media given us a look at their draft boards after that year’s draft was completed, but in their actions they’ve also alerted us to some key tells about their actions.

In our must-read post from a few off-season’s ago, ”6 Draft Tendencies and Tells,” we listed the following:

5. Dallas uses the ... visits very wisely, and will most often select players throughout the draft that visit team headquarters through the 30 National invites of Dallas Day visits.

This is by no means an end-all be-all list. Jaylon Smith, Maliek Collins, and Charles Tapper didn’t make official visits to Valley Ranch in 2016. But in total, 11 of their draft picks in the last three years have made visits to the team headquarters. In that vein, we’ll be bringing you in-depth looks at the draft candidates that Dallas schedules for visits, so that you can be better-informed about the small sample size many of the next group of Cowboys will likely come from.

Name: Vidauntae “Taco” Charlton

Position: Defensive End

School: Michigan

Height: 6’5 5/8”

Weight: 277

Intangibles/Honors: First-Team All-B1G 10 (Coaches & Media) – 2016 … General Studies Major

pSparq Score:  117. Z-Score: -0.2 NFL Percentile: 42.3

pSparq is an approximation of the “Sparq Score” metric invented by NIKE (with the help of former USC and current Seattle Seahawks Head Coach, Pete Carroll), designed as a way to standardize athletic testing of High School athletes and interpret their athleticism with a sport specific formula. For more on pSparq,(and the man behind the math Zach Whitman) check out 3sigmaathlete.com.

Measurables vs others at his position:

Note: This spider graph courtesy of Mockdraftable.com provides a visual representation of a players’ measurable traits, and combine results.  The filled in area of the chart, as well as the number in the light grey circle represents the percentile among the players peers by position.  A score of 85 here represents that out of every 100 players at his position, the player has a better result in that test than 85 of those 100.

Games Studied: Wisconsin, Florida State, Penn State

Pass Game:

Charlton lined up at both defensive end spots for the Wolverines defense, in addition to occasional snaps as a three-technique defensive tackle and one snap in these games as a one-technique rushing over the center. He is not a rusher who plays with much refinement or technique, but he does play with consistently high effort. He will rush with speed around the corner, but rarely wins that way, and doesn’t shock blockers with his punch on the bull rush, but he can win with a spin move. 

Run Game:

Charlton’s combination of size and effort give him the opportunity to be a quality run defender in the NFL. He struggles to deal with the double team on the play side, and in these games he has some problems dealing with pulling lineman coming his way and a few big runs specifically against Florida State were the result of an inability to hold the edge against a puller. 

Conclusion/Cowboys Projection:

Taco Charlton’s lack of elite burst and bend likely mean he projects to be a Left Defensive End in the Cowboys scheme. Considering the fact that they currently have David Irving, Tyrone Crawford, and ideally DeMarcus Lawrence who will see snaps at Left End, It’s difficult to imagine the team spending a pick on the position in the range they would need to use to acquire Charlton.  As a C-Gap run defender who sets the edge or spills runs to the outside, Charlton can be an effective player on early downs as a young player, but as a pass rusher he has a lot of work to do technically to be the kind of player who challenges NFL blockers one-on-one. If he can develop his hand usage to the point where he can use his length to threaten the outside shoulder of a blocker despite the lack of explosiveness up the field, he can pair that threat with his inside spin to be effective.

In the end, we're not huge fans of the idea of Taco at 28. There are other pass-rushers we prefer. That list includes Takk McKinley, profiled by CHQ here, and T.J. Watt, our personal draft-crush at 28 ... and a soon-to-be-profiled pass-rusher.


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