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Scouting the NFL Draft: Taco Charlton

The emergence of skeptical tweets regarding Owa Odighizuwa and his subsequent "time off" from the NFL, has got Giant's officials and fans scratching their heads. Apparently, he is still with the team, but should the Giants be worrying about depth at defensive end? Taco Charlton could be the answer.

https://twitter.com/LPJ_Odighizuwa/status/848960993208217601

As skepticism settles down regarding the third-year defensive end, let's take a look at potential draft pick, Taco Charlton of Michigan

 

Over the course of Charlton's career with Michigan, he has seen improvement each and every season. As a true freshman, he played primarily on special teams, and then saw his playing time increase substantially in 2014, racking up 19 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, and one start. For a player with one start, those stats aren't too shabby. Although Charlton only started three games as a junior, he contributed valiantly on passing downs (30 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks). 

 

Charlton's senior year saw his potential reach a new height, as he was awarded first-team All-Big Ten honors after leading Michigan with 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.

 

STRENGTHS:

 

Clocking in at 277 lbs. and towering at 6'6", Charlton acquires a rare combination of size, length, and athletic attributes as an end rusher. His lengthy frame enables him to wrap up defenders and pull them to the ground with immense power. His consistent improvement over the course of his Michigan career only shows his upside and has not fully developed into his body yet. Charlton's reaction time off the line is world class and can be considered 'instantaneous'. His upper body power can push tackles back into retreating quarterbacks. His sink and swerve move around the edge is a benefit of his speed and has flexibility to bend low to slingshot around tackles. Charlton leans forward, with a down-hill approach allowing him to utilize his body weight and strength to full potential. He also has strong rip-and-stab and spin moves that could help him develop into a premier pass rusher in the NFL. Plays bounced to the outside are no problem for the lengthy Charlton, as he can reach top speeds quickly due to his elongated lateral sides. If he can utilize his length, he can dramatically improve his run stopping abilities. 

 

WEAKNESSES:

 

Charlton has the talent and physical attributes to be a prototypical defensive end in the NFL. His main issue is inconsistency, and his inability to play at a high level through the season. Some extra time in the weight room increasing strength and stamina could be the easy fix for his most glaring weakness. When opposed by a strong tackle, Charlton can be pushed off his assignment and lose balance, inevitably taking him out of the play. His run stopping grade is his lowest, and must increase his production against the run to become a premier pass rusher. Luckily, if drafted by the Giants, he will have Jason Pierre-Paul, one of the best run stoppers in the league to teach him the ropes. There has been skepticism around Charlton's aggressiveness, and scouts have questioned his ability to hold his own in trench battles. Balance and footwork need to be refined, and readiness to take on moving blockers must be improved as well. Overall, Charlton lacks a few technical attributes, and consistency. With some guidance by veterans and a little extra time in the weight room, Charlton could exceed expectations. 

 

NFL ComparisonChandler Jones

 

BOTTOM LINE: 

 

The key to Charlton succeeding in the NFL is consistency. He has the physical attributes, but if he wants to become a legitimate threat, he must come to work day-in and day-out. It is possible he slips to the second round where Big Blue could be willing to scoop him up, in the anticipation Owa Odighizuwa might not be with the team come training camp. 

 


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