(Editor's Note: With less than one month until the start of the 2017 NFL Draft on April 27, the staff of DallasCowboys.com intends to preview the landscape of possible Cowboys draft picks – from the first round to the last. Today's featured player is Michigan's Taco Charlton.)
Name: Taco Charlton
Honors: Charlton didn't start full time at Michigan until his senior year in 2016, when he made first-team All-Big Ten.
Key Stat: Charlton improved his quarterback sack totals all four seasons with the Wolverines: 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.
Where He's Projected: Charlton's projected draft position is a little jumbled, perhaps because there's a small sample size of his work as a starter. Most draft observers believe he could get drafted as high as the first round or possibly the early part of the second round if he doesn't hear his name called on Day One.
How He Helps The Cowboys: Well, there was a common theme to the media's draft-related discussions with Jerry and Stephen Jones at last month's owner's meetings: defense. The Cowboys improved their sack total to 36 last season, ranked in the top half of the league (13th). But the team is always looking for more pressure on the quarterback, and the team believes there's enough depth in this draft to help replace their free-agent departures on the defensive line and in the secondary. Charlton showed last season that he can be a disruptive edge rusher – and his year-to-year improvement in college might be a sign that he'll only get better with time in the pros.
Scout's Take: Long rangy body. Can get up field then redirect back inside. Upper body strength to extend on the blocker. Can hold his man in place. Will chase the ball to the outside. Struggled with his awareness on the trap block. Almost like it caught him by surprise. Moves well laterally. Gets caught too far up field on his rush. Misses on the depth of quarterback. Taken down on the low block. Needs to get rid of the blocker quicker. Will fight the double team. Can hold his own. Spin move on pass rush. Has the upper body strength to push blocker back with one arm. Snaps where he gets stuck along the line. Lined up as a nose in the three-man line. Doesn't have the burst to really get around the corner. Will struggle to win one-on-one. Effort is good but he doesn't always finish. Really lacks a burst to close. Steady but doesn't make those "Wow" plays. Very good comparison by Dane Brugler of CBS Sports/DallasCowboys.com of Justin Tuck, formerly of the New York Giants. Might be a little bit of a late bloomer.
- Bryan Broaddus