FRISCO, Texas – A full breakdown of the Cowboys' first-round draft pick (No. 28 overall) Thursday night:
Name: Taco Charlton
Position: Defensive End
The Rundown: Considered one of the most talented pass rushers in this year's class, Charlton became a full-time starter at Michigan as a senior and made first-team All-Big Ten with 9.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. He improved all four seasons in college, increasing his quarterback sack totals from none in 10 games as a freshman; 3.5 in 12 games (one start) as a sophomore; 5.5 in 13 games (three starts) as a junior; and a team-high 9.5 in 11 starts as a senior.
How He Fits In: Charlton will have the opportunity to step into defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli's rotation along with other young defensive ends such as DeMarcus Lawrence, Benson Mayowa and last year's fourth-round pick Charles Tapper. Last year the Cowboys posted their highest sack total (36) since 2011, but they identified more pressure as a need and they do have two key players, Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford, coming off offseason surgery.
Other Options: The Cowboys were widely considered to be targeting a pass rusher or cornerback with their first pick. Other prospects still on the board at No. 28 were Wisconsin linebacker/defensive end T.J. Watt, Michigan State defensive end/tackle Malik McDowell, Houston defensive end Tyus Bowser and Washington cornerback Kevin King. All were slotted as potential late-first- or early-second-rounders by outside draft observers. The Cowboys went with Charlton instead.
Next Cowboys Pick: 2nd Round (60th overall)