Taco Charlton, Defensive End
I’m sorry. But regardless of the Dallas Cowboys admitting they drafted a player they had a second round grade on with their first round selection (28th overall) this year, that fact doesn’t excuse defensive end Taco Charlton from completely disappearing through the first half of his rookie season. It simply doesn’t.
At the end of the day, Charlton is a high draft pick. He carries the weight and burden of being a first round selection. And that comes standard with a DeMarcus Ware-sized bag of expectations.
Through the first six games of his rookie season, Taco’s production is laughable. Six games, four tackles, one pass defend. In comparison, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker T.J. Watt, who was selected two picks after Charlton, has recorded 26 tackles, 4.0 sacks, three pass defends and an interception in the same amount of games. It’s hard to laugh when you’re crying.
Admittedly, it’s too early to call Taco a draft dud. Although he is certainly playing like one. And the team has been honest and forthcoming about his status as a “developmental” player. Dallas wants to lower fan expectation because they know Charlton is still very raw. Bloody, in fact.
But NFL teams simply shouldn’t draft developmental players with their first round selection. And one of the many reasons why you just don’t do it are the unrealistic expectations.
Charlton is currently the worst pass rusher on this Cowboys roster. Yet, his high draft status keeps him on the active roster while better players are benched. So his weekly disappearing act are actually hurting the team. Dallas, no doubt, sees it as investing in his future. And it’s one that may not pay off.