In the hours since the first round of the NFL Draft has concluded, some folks in CowboysNation are beside themselves. There is no consoling the fans that wanted T.J. Watt or Kevin King but got Taco Charlton. Even I was a little upset when the pick was made but I quickly made my 180 because that’s what you do; move on.
There are still six more rounds in this draft but before the focus goes as far away from Taco Charlton as possible, this is where the story has begun. The story of how Taco Charlton became a Dallas Cowboy is fascinating and will live on regardless of whether he’s great or is a bust.
Much to the chagrin of some really huge fans of his (including me), this story never involved T.J. Watt. At least, the most pertinent people in this story had decided long ago that Watt was a better fit for the 3-4 defense. He got his fit with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Before folks come at me about this, I realize that there were scouts that believed T.J. Watt could be a 4-3 weak-side end. However, those beliefs never transpired to much friction to ignite a connection. Again, this isn’t about T.J. Watt. This story started with Takkarist McKinley and ended with Taco Charlton.
Ladies and gentlemen, McKinley was going to be the 28th pick in the NFL Draft. Takk was going to be a Dallas Cowboy and that would have made many of us, including Danny Phantom, oh so happy. If you watched the War Room Cam, the Cowboys were tickled when the Seahawks went on the clock just a few minutes past the 10-o-clock mark.
Surely, this was going to be a long cornerback like King or an offensive tackle like Ryan Ramczyk, right? The Bills would then take a defensive back and the speedy edge rusher from UCLA would make his way to the Cowboys. It was then that the Seahawks pulled a 2016 and thwarted the Cowboys’ plan. The Falcons came up from 31, swept Takk up, he dropped a few untimely curse words and the Cowboys’ War Room had their first throw-the-pencil at the wall moment.
There was no doubt that they were a bit miffed that McKinley, who they had slightly above Charlton, went two picks before them. It was a throwback to last season when Kevin Dodd and Emmanuel Ogbah were snatched right before the Cowboys in the top of the second round. This is just the way the draft shakes out sometimes.
While miffed, the Cowboys’ certainly weren’t defeated as 1A was off the board, they went with 1B. Taco Charlton is one hell of a consolation prize, and hopefully he’ll use this vitriol as a way to live up to his potential.
There is absolutely no problem with being bummed about not getting the present you wanted. You’re reading the column of a guy that called him Jack Crawford. But after you sleep on it, learn to accept it. The problem that I have with the spewed anger is that some folks are acting like picking 28 is supposed to net you a guaranteed Pro Bowler. The truth is that it doesn’t and there is no perfect method of finding the All-Pros.
Every pick the Cowboys could have possibly have made at 28 were going to have issues or warts, to steal a draft term. Whether is was Watt with two knee injuries and one year as a starter (same as Taco) or Kevin King (raw athlete, doesn’t always translate his athleticism to his play). Every single player is going to have something you've got to fix, it’s the nature of the draft.
Just to touch on that one-year starter problem, there are great players in the power five conferences. Stephen Jones stated that lots of players have to wait their turns because they’re behind other NFL prospects. Not everyone can be a four-year starter that improved every year. Taco Charlton may only have played one season as a starter but he certainly improved every single year.
This decision came down to getting the guy that could come in a play right now. They wanted a pass rusher in round one because they knew darn well that at 60, you’re looking at guys from Ohio and Youngstown State. Taco is far better than what they would see had they waited. On the flip side, the cornerback and safeties at 60 will be a lot closer to the guys that were around at pick 28. You can believe in the depth of the defensive backs but don’t take chances with the pass rushers; you’ll lose every time.
Whether or not the Cowboys got Jerry’s “war daddy”, Jason Garrett and Rod Marinelli were ecstatic when the call was made that they at least got their “warrior”. Whether you believe that the last first-round player on their board was a running back or not. Whether you believe the Cowboys “window-dressed their board” or not. None of that matters because Taco Charlton is your guy now. As I often do when it lends itself correctly, here’s Ric Flair to close us out:
“If you don’t like it…learn to LOVE it!”