All the talk about Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton being a possible first round bust is slowly fading as he records another sack under his belt.
Let’s start off with the bad. Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end Taco Charlton struggled a bit in his first few snaps this past Saturday against the Oakland Raiders. On the Raiders second scoring drive, Taco showed some burst through the line but over pursued a couple of times and took himself out of the play.
Then on the 48-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr to Amari Cooper, there was obvious confusion with him and defensive tackle Stephen Paea as they both shot the same rushing lane and ended up bumping into each other.
But after halftime, the rookie rusher seemed to settle down and use his technique.
On his sack, he used his speed to get around the edge untouched but kept his body square and his balance strong as to not overshoot the quarterback or fall down. It was his only play that would appear on the stat sheet, but after watching the film I noted some pluses on other aspects of his game.
His balance has really improved since the Hall of Fame game where, in the few snaps that he had in that contest, he would be in a poor body position to make a move and would easily lose his footing. I rarely saw him on the ground this game.
In the second half of Saturday’s game, Charlton stopped trying to outrun the left tackle. When he realized he couldn’t beat his man with his speed, Taco set the edge and resorted to his hand movement. This is probably something the coaching staff saw at halftime and adjusted with the young pass rusher accordingly.
On the Connor Cook lost fumble, Taco was on a twist assignment where he rushed the inside. He used his strength to slightly push the lineman back clogging up any lane for Connor to step up and make a throw. This allowed Damontre Moore to get around the edge and get the sack fumble.
Also, although the Raiders didn’t run too much to his side, when they did he didn’t get beat on the outside or give up any big running lanes to his inside. You have to take the small wins when you can get them if you’re Taco.
What most people forget is that Taco didn’t become a full-time starter in college until his senior year. It took three full years for him to develop into a first round college defensive end. So it’s going to take some time for the young man to groom into the pass rusher we all want him to be.
But defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is the perfect fit to coach up Taco into becoming an effective pass rusher. He raves about Taco’s athleticism and length.
Rod’s scheme is simple, and he demands hustle and consistency. Assuming Taco puts in the work Marinelli requires, those values will surely tailor Taco into a quality sack artist. It’s just going to take some time.