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Taco Charlton Presents a Pass-Rushing Option for Teams in the Mid-First Round

Taco Charlton, a defensive end from Michigan, presents a viable option for teams in need of a pass rusher in this year’s draft. While not being as talented or proven as fellow pass rusher Derek Barnett, Charlton still has shown that he has the ability to rush the passer during his years at Michigan. Most mock drafts have Charlton being taken in the mid to late first round of the NFL draft, but depending on where Barnett goes Charlton could end up moving up in the draft.

One of the weaknesses of Charlton is that he is relatively unproven as a player, as shown by his college stats. However, as he has received more playing time, his stats have gradually improved each year.

*The following stats come from www.sports-reference.com

2013: 2 games, 2 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss

2014: 9 games, 19 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks

2015: 11 games, 30 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks

2016: 11 games, 40 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss, 10.0 sacks

Charlton has a physical body, 6’6 and 277 lbs., that is built for the defensive end position. While Charlton hasn’t fully grown into his body yet, he does possess the explosiveness and athleticism needed to be able to rush the passer. In addition, Charlton also has the length (34 1/4 inch arm length) and explosiveness to be able to also be a player against the run.

Another thing that is easy to see when watching Charlton is that he possess a dominant go-to move that he loves to use while rushing the passer. Charlton uses a fantastic spin move to go along with an assortment of other moves that he is in his arsenal to rush the passer.

Like mentioned above, Charlton’s stats don’t really do a good job of showing how good he can be. Charlton had to work his way into receiving the full-time starting spot, something that took him until his senior year to earn. Nothing that Charlton has done in college is eye popping until his senior year, and even then his 10.0 sacks and 40 tackles are nothing extraordinary.

In addition to his lack of eye-popping stats, Charlton also needs to hit the weight room a lot more often if he is to be a successful player in the NFL. Also, Charlton needs to work on improving his technique and mental aptitude if he is to become as successful as he can be.

When comparing the top two defensive ends in this draft, it is clear that they possess opposite skill sets of each other. Barnett uses good hands and his power to be able to rush the passer, while Charlton uses his explosiveness, athleticism and go-to moves to rush the passer. Barnett is clearly going to be drafted ahead of Charlton, but Charlton can be a valuable piece to an NFL defense as well.

The first team in the NFL draft that some consider a possible landing spot for Charlton is the Philadelphia Eagles, who currently stand at pick 14. However, it is not likely that the Eagles settle for drafting Taco Charlton at that pick, leading to Charlton’s services being there for teams like the Baltimore Ravens (pick 16), the New York Giants (pick 23) or the Denver Broncos (pick 20).

Overall, Taco Charlton possesses certain skills that would allow him to be a valuable pass rusher, but he has weaknesses that could lead to him becoming a bust in the NFL. Much of Charlton’s potential relies on how much he builds and grows into his big body as well as whether or not he can become a stronger player, something that is needed in the NFL.

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