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Thread: Archer: Cowboys believe Taco Charlton's story is just beginning

  1. #1
    One-armed Knife Sharpener Iamtdg's Avatar
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    Archer: Cowboys believe Taco Charlton's story is just beginning

    Cowboys believe Taco Charlton's story is just beginning
    9:30 AM CT
    Todd Archer
    ESPN Staff Writer

    FRISCO, Texas -- Some minds were made up about Taco Charlton early in training camp when he struggled in one-on-one pass rush drills against backup offensive tackles that would not make a roster.

    Others were made up early in the preseason when T.J. Watt, who was picked by the Pittsburgh Steelers two spots after the Dallas Cowboys picked Charlton, had two sacks in his first game. Others at least waited until the regular season, when Charlton did not have more than one tackle in the first seven games or record a sack.

    Charlton felt the eye rolls from training camp, preseason and early in the regular season but knew he could change minds only by what did on the field. And sometimes that wasn't enough.

    By the end of the season, Charlton was playing his best football. He had three sacks in the final nine games and eight of his 11 quarterback pressures in the final four games.

    "I would say keep the same anger. If you hated me then, keep on hating me," Charlton said in the final week of the regular season. "I'm going to continue to strive to get there. Don't become a fan now. I'm a person that who you see today is not who you'll see tomorrow. I'm going to continue to get better and be a great player in this league."

    Charlton's final statistics are modest. The coaches credited him with 19 tackles, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble to go with his three sacks and 11 quarterback pressures.

    Watt finished with seven sacks. Takkarist McKinley, the 26th overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons, had six. But Charlton had more sacks than Charles Harris, whom the Miami Dolphins picked No. 22 overall. Solomon Thomas, the third overall pick, had three sacks as well.

    "I thought he got better as the year went on, started to make some impact plays, sacking the quarterback, making some plays sideline to sideline," coach Jason Garrett said of Charlton. "He'll continue to grow. He's in a good environment with the veteran players at that position and the coaching that he gets there. So he has to reflect back on this year and build on some of the good stuff and certainly continue to grow in a lot of different ways."

    The Cowboys wanted more from Charlton in 2017. Charlton wanted more from himself in 2017. Pass-rushers usually need time. The Cowboys traded up to take DeMarcus Lawrence in the second round in 2014, and he did not record a regular-season sack. In 2012 the Cowboys drafted Tyrone Crawford in the third round, and he did not have a sack as a rookie.

    Lawrence had 14.5 sacks in 2017. Crawford had four but played better than that total would indicate.

    "Just having those two guys, seeing where they're at now, where they're making plays, doing great things, people ask me, 'Why don't you play that much?' Well, when a guy’s got 15 sacks in front of you, it's hard to get more reps,'" Charlton said. "But just learning from him, seeing his growth and even watching the film coach puts on of him and seeing where he was then and where he's at now, you can see the improvement that he's gotten in his game. I can just take it from those two and build on it and know the sky's the limit."

    The Cowboys will need more from Charlton in 2018. Lawrence, who is scheduled to be a free agent but expected to return either with a long-term contract or on the franchise tag, will have to deal with more attention. David Irving, a restricted free agent, had seven sacks in eight games in 2017 and could play more on the interior next season.

    Charlton has been through this process before. He did not record a sack in his first year at Michigan. In each of the next three seasons his sack totals increased, finishing with 9.5 sacks as a senior to go with 10 quarterback pressures.

    "I definitely grew faster my rookie year than I did my freshman year at Michigan just because I have a lot more knowledge now of what to do to basically improve at a faster rate," Charlton said. "For a lot of defensive linemen, they've got to go through a learning curve. I feel with the way I'm playing (at the end of the season), if you put me back at the beginning of the season I could put up a lot of great numbers. I'll have to wait until next season to put up the numbers I want to put up."
    2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    It takes a lot of pass rushers time unless they are absolute freak athletes. I've got no problem penciling Taco in as a starter at the end spot opposite Lawrence. My only concern is with our coaches love of Crawford is he going to continue to get that playing time over Taco. I really hope not but our coaches can be extremely stubborn with sticking to veteran players like that.

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  4. #3
    Senior Member Donpingon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
    It takes a lot of pass rushers time unless they are absolute freak athletes. I've got no problem penciling Taco in as a starter at the end spot opposite Lawrence. My only concern is with our coaches love of Crawford is he going to continue to get that playing time over Taco. I really hope not but our coaches can be extremely stubborn with sticking to veteran players like that.
    I wasn’t terribly discouraged and I think Crawford and his contract are on borrrowed time in Dallas. Hopefully Taco can continue to improve as we can’t afford another Gregory style miss

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    Super Duper Moderator mcnuttz's Avatar
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    We saw flashes from D-Law in the playoffs after an otherwise "Meh" rookie year, and he's turned into an all-around DE...Major force against the run and one of the best rushers in the league.

    Hopefully Taco will add some mass this offseason and start blossoming next season. I'm certainly not ready to give up on him, but Crawford gots to go.

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    Senior Member lostxn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcnuttz View Post
    We saw flashes from D-Law in the playoffs after an otherwise "Meh" rookie year, and he's turned into an all-around DE...Major force against the run and one of the best rushers in the league.

    Hopefully Taco will add some mass this offseason and start blossoming next season. I'm certainly not ready to give up on him, but Crawford gots to go.
    Yeah a lot of the knee-jerk guys here gave up on the kid way early because they didn't like the pick in the first place. Those of us with a little patience and a little perspective took a wait and see and the kid started to flash near the end of the season. I still think we won't see 10 sacks out of him until year 3 but he seems like he might be in the mold of Lawrence in being a slow bloomer but with overall run/rush skills.

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    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcnuttz View Post
    We saw flashes from D-Law in the playoffs after an otherwise "Meh" rookie year, and he's turned into an all-around DE...Major force against the run and one of the best rushers in the league.

    Hopefully Taco will add some mass this offseason and start blossoming next season. I'm certainly not ready to give up on him, but Crawford gots to go.
    I think Taco started to flash down the stretch. He was excellent against Seattle. I'd still have no problem drafting Davenport in this draft. And it has nothing to do with Taco. I just think having 3 high level pass rushers is a very good thing in todays NFL. Each of who is still going to play 60% of the defensive snaps.

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  9. #7
    Super Duper Moderator mcnuttz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lostxn View Post
    Yeah a lot of the knee-jerk guys here gave up on the kid way early because they didn't like the pick in the first place. Those of us with a little patience and a little perspective took a wait and see and the kid started to flash near the end of the season. I still think we won't see 10 sacks out of him until year 3 but he seems like he might be in the mold of Lawrence in being a slow bloomer but with overall run/rush skills.
    I wasn't really crazy about the Taco pick, but you've to trust that the kid is going to put in the time to get better and I do believe that Marinelli finally has some legit talent to work with on the D-line. Pretty excited about that group, tbh...especially if they can get a fat guy in the middle.

  10. #8
    Super Duper Moderator mcnuttz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post
    I think Taco started to flash down the stretch. He was excellent against Seattle. I'd still have no problem drafting Davenport in this draft. And it has nothing to do with Taco. I just think having 3 high level pass rushers is a very good thing in todays NFL. Each of who is still going to play 60% of the defensive snaps.
    I agree, but adding Davenport would give us 4...D-Law, Irving, and Taco.

    And don't forget about the potential 2019 1st rounder Randy Gregory.

  11. #9
    Senior Member Cowboysrock55's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcnuttz View Post
    I agree, but adding Davenport would give us 4...D-Law, Irving, and Taco.

    And don't forget about the potential 2019 1st rounder Randy Gregory.
    Irving is a 3 technique. It's where he absolutely dominated last year. Although the year before I know he made a bunch of plays from the LE spot as well. Makes the most sense to me to rotate Irving and Collins at the 3 technique spot.

    I hope we sign a free agent NT. There are a lot of good ones available and NFL teams don't seem to value the position very highly. Hell I'd be good with signing Poe or Star and still draft a guy like Ford in the fourth or fifth round of the draft.

  12. #10
    No longer a fan midswat's Avatar
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    I just hope he always does that awesome sack celebration where he pretends he's seasoning a taco and then takes a bite because that is awesome hahahahha

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