Just one day after being waived by the Miami Dolphins, defensive end Taco Charlton has signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. His deal is for one year. The former Michigan Wolverines defender has the size and length that this team covets. Standing at 6’6” and 270 pounds, Charlton has seen a bumpy start to his career.
However, this addition is simply a no risk move for both the team and player. We will talk about Charlton’s fit with Kansas City, down the line. Meanwhile, let’s look back at his career so far.
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The Dallas Cowboys selected Taco Charlton in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft at 28th overall. From the start, he was competing for a backup role behind star pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence. It did take a while for Charlton to see any production on the field. His rookie season breakthrough really came in the second half of the year. For all the stat watchers, Charlton made just a slight impact. He played in all 16 games, while compiling 19 tackles, one pass defended, one forced fumble and three sacks.
Taco Charlton started off his sophomore season with seven starts on the Cowboys defensive line. Despite being substituted for on passing downs, the Michigan product’s production increased, playing opposite of Lawrence. Although, an early season jolt was quickly erased.
Charlton suffered a shoulder injury midway through the 2018 season. As a result, he missed a good portion of the rest of the season. There was little to no involvement for him in Dallas’ two playoff games. Some reports indicated that Taco Charlton was possibly falling out of favor with the Cowboys coaching staff. Following a disappointing end to the season, he opted to have offseason shoulder and ankle surgery.
Finally in 2019, the last straw came for the marriage between Taco Charlton and the Dallas Cowboys. He was made a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season. Adding on to that, Charlton took to social media to tweet “free me.” His wish was essentially granted a few days later, when Dallas released him.
We’re Going To Miami
The Miami Dolphins quickly claimed Taco Charlton off of waivers the following day. Hysterically, his Dolphins debut came against the Cowboys in Dallas. Charlton notched two tackles and one sack in the contest.
Throughout the campaign with Miami, Charlton was the team’s leader in sacks. His stronger games came against the Los Angeles Chargers, where he made six tackles. He was eventually a healthy scratch in three of the last four games.
The Dolphins completely revamped the defensive line during the 2020 offseason. In free agency they added former Chief Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson. Meanwhile, Miami added three defensive linemen in the 2020 NFL Draft (Raekwon Davis, Jason Strowbridge, Curtis Weaver). So it came with little surprise, when Taco Charlton was waived.
Obviously, teams have traits that they look for in their players. It just so happens that Charlton fits the mold of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
He wins as a pass rusher with heavy hands and an array of counter moves. Charlton’s hands are not just heavy, they are extremely active. His run defense is often criticized. But, Taco Charlton showed that he can set and hold the edge with the Dolphins last season. That stood out on a couple of plays in his highlight showing against the Chargers.
This is also a type of move that has become normal for general manager Brett Veach. Being a former first round pick, Veach will take pride in trying to help Charlton find himself and attempt to resurrect his career. Still just 25 years old, the defender has the traits and ability, who could do well with Kansas City’s coaching staff. It could also help that Taco Charlton is joining a defensive line room with Chris Jones, Frank Clark (former college teammate), Mike Pennel, Tanoh Kpassagnon and others. At worst, the Chiefs add a depth piece that can be used in multiple situations.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.