via The Sports Xchange
The Dallas Cowboys got the pass rusher they desired.
The question remains whether they got the difference maker they so badly needed when they took Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton 28th overall in the 2017 NFL Draft on Thursday.
“From my perspective, he has real athleticism,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “He has the length we are trying to get at the right defensive end — arm length. He gives you a real good player who can play the left side and play inside as well. You’ve got a lot of flex here. His size is one of his greatest attributes. He looks like a defensive player and defensive end in the NFL.”
Charlton had 9.5 sacks as a senior during a breakout final season. But there was not consistent production throughout his college career and he disappointed a lot of people when he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.9 seconds.
But Charlton is a versatile defender who can play left or right end.
The Cowboys need him to come and have an immediate impact on a defense that struggled to rush the passer a year ago without blitzing.
Charlton is the first defensive end the Cowboys have selected in the first round since they took DeMarcus Ware in 2005. Of course, the Cowboys haven’t had a major pass rusher since they released Ware before the 2014 season.
They drafted DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory in the second round in 2014 and 2016, but neither has developed into a difference-making rusher.
The Cowboys are hoping Charlton finally fills that need and continues to develop and build on an impressive senior season at Michigan.
The Cowboys had only three defensive ends with first-round grades. None were available when they picked.
They did have a cornerback with a first-round grade, but they believe they can get one in the second round. This was their last opportunity to get a pass rusher, and Dallas refused to let Charlton get away.
“We had a cornerback in the mix, but we felt Taco was the right pick for us if he was sitting there,” Dallas executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “We felt we could get a good corner at the bottom of the second. If we didn’t get a pressure player with this pick, we might not see one for a while. That had a big-time effect.