It is by now no surprise that Kansas City Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach likes athletic ability and potential when looking for players to bring into the organization. Last week’s signing of Taco Charlton further shows that Veach likes to bring in players with a high upside for relatively low risk. Charlton fits the bill for this criteria. He is a former first-round pick of the Dallas Cowboys whose career has not yet lived up to its full potential. That isn’t to say Charlton is a bad player, and at only 25 years of age, he still has a chance to stick around the NFL and has the athletic ability to make an impact when he is in the game.
Charlton had his best season production wise last year as an early season pick up by the Miami Dolphins after his release from Dallas. He finished with five sacks and 21 tackles while playing in ten games. Interestingly enough the Miami Dolphins play a 3-4 defense and had Charlton used as a walk up OLB. While this production did look promising considering his first few seasons in Dallas were not the best, with just four sacks through two years, he looks much more comboratable with his hand in the dirt in a classic 4-3 defense as a DE.
Charlton has shown some glimpses of potential as a pass rusher but where he can make his largest impact is stopping the run and setting the edge from his end spot. He has the size to take on pulling OL and stand them up in the hole or not letting himself be driven back.
Again it’s not his natural spot to be in a stand-up spot but he deserves more respect than to have a team try to block him with a TE. One thing he will have to improve is his counters off of his moves. He is a very simplistic rusher, uses lots of long arms, and tries to win with power more often than not. He will need to develop a counter rush move more and find different ways to get to the QB. As was previously mentioned he is a good scheme fit and actually does well when he is allowed to twist and stunt, something the Chiefs did a lot of last year. With his long arms, he is also able to swat down passes, something the Chiefs seemed to do a lot of last year. Expect to see him knock down a few this year in KC.
Charlton’s full athletic ability is on display in this clip. Jacksonville wants to go with a reverse play but Charlton reads it perfectly. He makes a really good play here to contains the runner from getting the outside but then he takes it a step further by making a big tackle for loss. If he doesn’t make this play it could have easily been a big gain for the Jaguars.
So far in his young career Taco Charlton’s game has not panned out, and that’s fine. He is only 25 years old, with three years to build off of and still seems to have the same athletic ability which earned him a first round selection by the Cowboys. Now his time in the league may be getting shorter if he can’t find a way to get consistent time on the field in KC but if there is anywhere to get a fresh start and be surrounded by great coaching as well as team leaders in his own unit it is in Kansas City.