With the 28th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton. The Cowboys have been pursuing help with the pass rush and they hope Charlton will be the answer. He brings good size, leverage and power to his game, someone who can help to collapse the pocket from the outside. He’s not your typical speed rusher, but he’s a leverage and power rusher. Some people have compared his game to Justin Tuck.
SOURCES TELL US
"Really, really talented player. You won't always see it on every play so that is going to be a coach's job to get that out of him. Rushers with his size and athleticism are hard to find and they usually go very early in the draft." -- AFC executive
NFL COMPARISON Chandler Jones
"Inconsistent" has been the buzzword that has followed Charlton since coming to Michigan, but he began the process of shaking it during his senior season. Charlton is an ascending prospect with the size, length, athleticism and pass-rushing potential that NFL general managers dream of. What you see today might not be what you get. While his production coming out of college will be modest, he could become a substantially better player as a pro if he's committed to the weight room and willing to absorb coaching. High-impact defensive end with all-pro potential is his ceiling. His floor is solid starter.
Under new defensive coordinator Don Brown in 2016, the Wolverines switched to a four-man line and Charlton returned to his natural defensive end position, setting career-bests and showing the potential that NFL scouts were hoping to see. He has all the ingredients of a future NFL starter with the desired size, long levers and blend of power and quickness to be effective vs. both the pass and the run. He isn't yet the sum of his parts and needs more seasoning, but the flashes and potential are what will land Charlton in the first round.
COMPARES TO: Justin Tuck -- Similar to Tuck when he entered the NFL out of Notre Dame, Charlton has a large and long body type with the body flexibility and strength potential to be grow into an above average defensive end in a four-man front.
Defensive line/edge rusher: The Cowboys have needed help here for years, ever since the departure of DeMarcus Ware .
Cornerback: The Cowboys lost Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in free agency. They still have three corners who can play, in Orlando Scandrick, Nolan Carroll and Anthony Brown, but they need depth, and a possible upgrade.
Safety: Starter Barry Church and sometime-starter/reserve J.J. Wilcox both exited in free agency, leaving the Cowboys with Byron Jones and question marks. Jeff Heath is currently the other starter, but a high pick int he draft could become the starter at the position.
Right Tackle: Doug Free is retiring, and Chaz Green has yet to show he can stay healthy. Free agent signee Byron Bell is a stop-gap, the Cowboys need to find the future at the position.
Cowboys draft picks:
(Round-pick in the round-overall pick)
1-28-28: DE Taco Charlton
7-10-228 Dallas from Buffalo
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