Los Angeles Rams: L.A. Should Kick Tires on Recently Released DE Taco Charlton

by Jake Ellenbogen
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The Dallas Cowboys officially released Taco Charlton today after failing to find a trade partner to take on his services. The 24-year-old Charlton was drafted 28th-overall in the 2017 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. Due to the lack of overall progression and development shown in his short stint, Dallas decided to move on from the Michigan product.

The Rams find themselves in the driver’s seat to scoop and score in this regard. Do the Los Angeles Rams truly need another defensive lineman? Maybe, maybe not. However, Charlton is a former first-rounder from 2017. Whether you believe the Cowboys were justified in letting him go or not doesn’t matter. We’ve seen plenty of players find their resets or rather revitalize their career in different locations and changes of scenery. There is no reason to suggest Charlton couldn’t follow suit. Why would the Rams bother? Why not? You add another talented defensive lineman to the fray in a hope to maybe do more for his development than the Cowboys did.

Let’s not act like the Cowboys gave the first-round pick much of a chance. They can dislike how he looked in practice all they want but he barely was given a chance to play in his career. This is also coming from someone that wasn’t ultimately high on Charlton at all in the draft. However, I sense the Rams should at least give their star defensive line coach Eric Henderson a shot at fixing Charlton in a project that could bode very well for the team moving forward. Worst comes to worst, guess what? You cut him.

I don’t believe Taco Charlton’s career stats are a great barometer of the type of player he truly is.

The Rams at the moment have Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Greg Gaines, Sebastian Joseph-Day, Tanzel Smart and Morgan Fox on their roster at the defensive line position. Charlton demanded a trade after being placed in the background in Dallas. I don’t blame him for requesting a trade, he just wants to play which is something he hasn’t done this season. Could he make sense for the Rams defensive line? I believe so, I think you have to evaluate the defensive line by breaking it up. Donald is a lock for the long-term, Brockers future remains uncertain, Gaines and SJD are nose tackles, Fox is similar to Charlton as a 275-pound defensive lineman playing on a 3-4 line and Smart is undersized and is Donald’s backup.

This isn’t to say Charlton is going to light the league on fire but to add him to a good group of defensive linemen and give him a coach like Henderson, you might reap the rewards the Cowboys failed to uncover or rather didn’t care. It’s hard to fault the Cowboys as well since they have Robert Quinn coming back, they really like second-year pass rusher Dorance Armstrong, 2019 draft pick Joe Jackson and of course, DeMarcus Lawrence who is one of the best in the league at his position. Still, it should be less about labeling Charlton as a bust and more about trying to find out the real truth. Sometimes, teams don’t draft the right schematical fits and find better fits through undrafted rookie free agency or just later in the draft.

Charlton in 2017 finished with a 61.3 grade by Pro Football Focus and 2018 he went up to a 64.3 grade. Again, this could be a simple fact Charlton doesn’t have much more room for growth at the NFL level or Dallas’ coaching staff weren’t able to develop him further. It can’t hurt to take the chance and find out.

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