When the Dallas Cowboys passed on a number of cornerbacks in round one to slightly reach for a defensive end, they did so with Randy Gregory in mind.
Let me be honest with you for a moment.
When Taco Charlton was the name that came from the Commissioner’s mouth with the Dallas Cowboys on the clock, I was not happy.
For months, my hope was that the Cowboys would draft a cornerback in round one. When Washington cornerback Kevin King was available, I was ecstatic.
That happiness left me like an immediately deflated balloon when I saw the Michigan defensive end on my television.
This was no offense to Charlton. I think he’s a good player. He fits a need. I totally get why the Dallas Cowboys made the pick.
As it was happening, I thought it was the wrong decision. It honestly had all the look of a panic move. The Eagles selected Derek Barnett with the 14th overall pick. Charles Harris went 22nd to the Miami Dolphins. Two picks later, Takkarist McKinley was chosen by the Atlanta Falcons.
My thinking then, and still now, is that I’d rather have one of the five best cornerbacks than an end that probably is the eighth or ninth best at his position.
Thursday night was not the happiest night of my life.
After a night of rest, I came back to my television to see if the Dallas Cowboys would atone for their initial choice. Selecting Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis back-to-back put me back on board with the direction of the draft.
All of a sudden, this draft haul was starting to have the look I was hoping to see. Even though I am still curious what a King/Jordan Willis combination would have looked like, I was off the ledge.
Then Saturday morning came and it all made sense.
We already knew that Gregory was not going to play in 2017 but at this point football should be the furthest priority in his life. At this point, there is no way that the Dallas Cowboys can trust him.
No longer is panic the appropriate way to look at the draft selection of Charlton. Gregory’s off the field issues put defensive end as a higher priority than cornerback. With four already off the board, the Cowboys made the pick out of need.
Will Taco Charlton be a dominant pass rusher?
Only time will tell. His massive size (6’6″, 275 lbs) is reminiscent of former Cowboys end Marcus Spears. Spears was also a first round selection who had a solid, but unspectacular career. If Charlton does not eclipse Spears’ career sack total of ten, this pick will be a failure.
If he can tap into his potential, however, he should produce between six and eight sacks each year. For this team, that could be good enough to be the leader in the clubhouse.
Two years ago, the Cowboys thought they had their next great rusher in Gregory. Thanks in large part to his inability to stop smoking marijuana, he’s been in just fourteen games, producing just one sack.
Charlton’s opportunity in Dallas comes primarily from Gregory’s failures to succeed. Hopefully this time the Cowboys made the right choice.