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Washington Redskins 2017 Draft Profiles: Taco Charlton, EDGE

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Hogs Haven takes a look at NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

NCAA Football: Hawaii at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Taco Charlton, EDGE
School: Michigan | Conference: BIG-10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-6 / 277 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Late 1st into the 2nd round
NFL Comparison: Robert Ayers

College Statistics

Player Overview

It's hard to believe out of the 50 profiles I’ve written so far Charlton is the first Michigan player I’ve covered this year. Michigan has over a dozen draft eligible prospects this year and aside from Jabrill Peppers, Charlton may be the most highly touted. Charlton was used as a pass rushing defensive end at Michigan and primarily rushed with his hand in the dirt though he was sent on stunts from a standing position at times. Charlton has impressive bend and agility coming off the edge. He posted career-best numbers in just about every category. What makes Charlton so effective in his pass rush is his use of short area burst combined with a spin move that leaves linemen looking silly trying to chase after him.

It’s hard to project Charlton as a true edge prospect, though. I don’t think his spot in the NFL is at 3-4 OLB. I think he’s a 4-3 DE all day or can be used in sub packages as a stand up “LB” that serves a pass rush specialist off the edge. Though Charlton has decent athleticism I don't think he’s fast enough to consistently rush off the edge as a 3-4 linebacker much less drop back into coverage. A good question I’ve been hearing about him is if he can put on enough mass onto his frame to potentially play the 5-tech in a 3-4. Charlton was going to go in the 1st round anyway but if he can convince teams he is a scheme versatile end he may have top 10 potential.

Strengths

  • Great combination of flexibility, length, strength, and athleticism coming off the edge.
  • Frame is NFL ready but still has room to add mass if asked.
  • Good instincts and timing off the snap uses his short area quickness to beat lineman and uses his push/pull and spin move to work toward the QB.
  • Understand angles and understands how to collapse the pocket. Has plus skills in converting speed to power.
  • Consistency may be an issue at times in his effectiveness off the edge but he is an effort player and doesn't stop pursuing the ball.

Weaknesses

  • Can get stonewalled at times if his initial moves don't work, needs to remain active with his hands.
  • Not nearly as effective playing the run. Can get moved out of his gap by bigger linemen.
  • Question on if he has the build and toughness to move inside on passing downs.
  • Inconsistent play speed a big drawback imo.

Let’s see his work:

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

Charlton may be a first round talent but whether he goes in the first half of the round or the latter half or into the second round will largely depend on if teams think he is scheme versatile as a defensive end. Charlton offers immediate pass rush skills as a 4-3 end but will likely have had to convince NFL teams that he can add weight if asked (for those interested in him playing 5-tech) and that he can improve playing the run. There is no doubt Charlton has the physical traits to be an impact pass rusher at the next level. Right now without the added bulk to make him a 5 tech I can't really see a place for Charlton in the Redskins defense unless they created a sub package just for him to rush off the edge or standing up.

Right now I view him as a designated pass rusher and I think he presents the same issues in the Redskins 3-4 base defense as highly touted EDGE prospect Solomon Thomas. An experienced and creative coordinator will put guys like that in positions to succeed including creating packages just for them. It remains to be seen if new defensive coordinator Greg Manusky will bite on this type of player that isn't a prototypical fit but has obvious talent.