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2017 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Taco Charlton, DE, Michigan

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Will the Michigan defensive end still be wearing blue next year?

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

The New York Giants have a certain “type” of defensive player that they look for. In the broadest sense, and at every position, that type can be summed up in two words: “Big” and “Athletic”.

There are defensive ends and edge rushers of all types in the 2017 draft, but one of the most archetypally “Giants” ends in the class is Michigan DE, Taco Charlton.

The Giants have high-end starters in Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, and athletic youngsters in Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Romeo Okwara. However, they over-played JPP and Vernon, and have yet to see Owa and Okwara capitalize on their athletic gifts. It is entirely possible that a defensive end like Charlton could be the highest rated player on the Giants’ board when they pick, and they have never let depth at the position stop them from adding to it.

Measurables

Pros

  • Prototypical frame and length for a 4-3 defensive end.
  • Long arms and big hands.
  • Flashes a good first step.
  • Active hands dealing with blockers.
  • Uses a variety of moves, including a long-arm and a nasty spin move.
  • Is disciplined in run defense and against play action.
  • Shows a good motor and stays with the play.

Cons

  • Wasn’t a regular starter until his final season.
  • Struggles to match power with power against offensive tackles. Bull rush is spotty at best and can get bent backward in run defense.
  • Play is inconsistent. Can flash on some plays, but
  • Long speed is an issue. He has a solid burst off the snap, but can be out-run in pursuit.

Does He Fit With The Giants?

Charlton does fit with the Giants, both in defense and in philosophy.

Simply looking at him, he just looks like a New York Giants’ defensive end. He is tall, with a well-filled out frame, long arms, big hands, and solid athleticism. On the field, he plays a very “Giants” like game, moving all over the defensive front, rushing from the left, right, inside, and as a stand-up rusher.

Despite being a fourth-year senior, Charlton is not yet the sum of his parts, but as with Jason Pierre-Paul in 2010, the Giants would be an excellent environment in which he could grow into his potential.

Prospect Video

Big Board Rankings

Big Blue View - 26th overall

CBS Sports - 23rd overall

Draft Countdown - 31st overall

Draft Tek - 29th overall

Final Thoughts

Charlton still has growing to do as a player. He spent most of his career at Michigan as a backup or situational player, but finally cracked the starting lineup in his final season. Physically, he has everything NFL teams look for in a defensive end, and after showing at the combine and Michigan Pro Day that he can play in space (some) as a linebacker, he could be a viable fit in many systems. His best fit, however is in a “Multiple” 4-3 defense such as is run by the Giants.

Charlton’s play at Michigan has often been described as “inconsistent”, and he could probably stand to get stronger to deal with tackles at the next level. However, it’s not unlikely that his best football is still ahead of him, and he will likely be drafted highly based on that potential.