Former first round pick, Taco Charlton, is fighting for a roster spot in his third season with the Dallas Cowboys so today we look at his chances
The Dallas Cowboys have been wildly successful with their first round picks this decade. Players like Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, Byron Jones, and Leighton Vander Esch have all provided Pro Bowl seasons for Dallas and figure to be key players on the 2019 team.
But one first round picks stands out from the rest – in all the wrong ways. His name is, of course, Taco Charlton. Taco came to Dallas in less than ideal circumstances. Fans and media wanted J.J. Watt’s little brother, T.J. Watt from the start. When Dallas selected Taco, despite T.J. being available, the scrutiny was instant. After watching T.J. explode as a young pass rusher and Taco flop, that scrutiny has turned to outrage.
Year 1 for Taco was a bit underwhelming, but the young rookie showed progress that instilled faith he could soon develop into a solid player in the NFL. But Year 2 saw a steep decline in just about every area – especially attitude.
With Randy Gregory back in the fold in 2018, Gregory received the bulk of the passing downs while Taco was nothing more than a rotational piece on running downs. Taco’s effort suffered as a result, ultimately leading to being a game day inactive, and a timeshare in Rod Marinelli’s dog house.
To make matters worse for Taco, Dorance Armstrong, a 2018 rookie, endeared himself to coaches with his effort and overall progression. While Taco stood on the sideline in street clothes, it was Armstrong who was working in the rotation to the tune of 273 snaps.
While Dorance struggled to make impactful plays, he was solid in the rotation, and hit the ground running in the offseason. Earlier in the spring, I even went so far as to say Armstrong was the better prospect for Dallas Cowboys fans to cheer on. And that he, not Taco, had the better future on the Cowboys.
Two weeks into training camp and that’s exactly where we stand. Dorance Armstrong has been the biggest standout on the D-line and Taco, while coming off his best two days of camp, has been largely forgettable.
Looking at the roster, it’s going to be impossible for all of Dallas’ young prospects to make the team. Armstrong has all but assured his spot on the Final 53, meaning Taco must beat out rookies Jalen Jelks, Joe Jackson, and possibly Kerry Hyder to secure a spot on the final roster. And if it wasn’t for the suspensions of ends Robert Quinn and Randy Gregory, Taco would clearly be on the outside looking in right now.
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To make matters worse, Dallas’s other young lineman from Kansas, Daniel Wise, has been getting work at defensive end and has actually looked quite good. If Wise, and UDFA, can prove serviceable at end, he could be the last D-line to make the cut. And with Tyrone Crawford and Hyder having position flex themselves, Dallas is under no obligation to keep a set number of defensive ends in 2019.
So who’s making it on the D-line and who’s not?
As of now here’s how I see it:
Defensive End (5): DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Kerry Hyder, Dorance Armstrong, Taco Charlton* (suspended list: Randy Gregory and Robert Quinn)
*First to be cut when either Gregory or Quinn return
There’s plenty of time in camp for Taco to carve out a permanent spot on the roster but given Taco’s salary, years of control, and limited ceiling, it’s hard to believe the Dallas Cowboys would opt for him over Dorance, Jelks, Jackson, or Wise if their play on the field is anything comparable to Taco. Taco will need to be the best of them.
- Published on 08/09/2019 at 12:45 PM
- Last updated at 08/09/2019 at 14:35 PM