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The morning after

April 28, 2017

Taco

It’s the morning after. You drank too much the night before, you wake up to a splitting headache and you look over to see an unknown person next to you in bed. Next to her are Taco Bell wrappers strewn everywhere and then you remember….Taco Charlton. You moan, sink back under the covers and tell yourself last night didn’t happen but unfortunately it did. Okay maybe I’m taking it too far but last night wasn’t great. Let’s delve in a little more, now that we have had time to digest the pick and gain a little perspective.

Bob Sturm is probably the analyst I respect the most locally in the DFW area, we actually disagree quite often on players (he hated the Ezekiel Elliott pick, I liked it though obviously preferred Ramsey-win for Jon, he loved the Tyron Smith pick, I hated it-win for Bob) so it was interesting to see that we had pretty much the exact same thoughts on Taco Charlton. He’s a SDE or right DE which is exactly what David Irving is and his future role as SDE on run downs and DT on passing downs is what both Irving and Tyrone Crawford bring to the table so it seemed rather redundant. Also I had an early 2nd round grade on Taco, not a huge reach but you always want to take 1st rounders with 1st round picks. It doesn’t seem like a hard rule to follow but…per Bob Sturm, “ They (Cowboys) did indicate after the fact that they did not have a 1st round grade on him, and left someone on the board that did.  We believe that is Kevin King, the CB from Washington, which does make you wonder about following the board, but you can also understand their position that they considered how Round 2 would play out when making their 1st pick….. For King, even the Cowboys admit he had a higher grade than Charlton and he plays at 6’3 and would be a great weapon at corner to lock up at the goal-line with the beasts at WR in this division and conference.  He was a 1st rounder and at a position of massive need.  They are comfortable seeing what pick #60 brings them, but I would have looked at the DE group and would have taken my best corner available. They did not, and they make the decisions around here.  Not only that, but they have quite a winning streak in Round 1 going, so we give them the benefit of the doubt to make it work.”  This revelation makes a lot of sense as it just really felt like this draft was determined before the night began. You can argue that guarantees your needs will be addressed, and it’s setting up that way with DE/CB/S likely being the team’s first three picks, but also lowers your ceiling on how good your draft can potentially be as it guarantees you’ll miss out on the steals when guys surprisingly fall. Peter in the comments made a good point in regards to that as it wasn’t just the Cowboys who had a strategy before the draft that they weren’t wavering from, it was a lot of teams. The Titans have a bad wide receiver corp and an aging TE in Delanie Walker (he turns 33 just before the season begins). Not ideal for your “franchise” QB in Marcus Mariota so it made sense to get him some help. So they reach for WR Corey Davis at #5 and then when OJ Howard falls into their laps at #18 they go with CB Adoree Jackson. Now if Davis and Jackson become players all is forgiven but a lot of people had a higher grade on Howard than on Davis so to reach at #5 to help Mariota but not further help him at #18 when there is great value is highly questionable. Also I don’t know how their board looked but if they had just stayed true to their board at #5 they could have taken advantage of Howard’s fall at #18. I have a feeling that 3 years from now we’ll look back and wonder why the Titans didn’t take Jamal Adams and OJ Howard instead of Davis and Jackson. Also this is coming from Jon Robinson who had probably the best 1st round last year. I think coming away with Davis and Jackson with 2 first rounders takes a lot of the shine off him but, as always, it’s too early to fully grade these picks. The Texans throwing enormous draft capital at the Browns to move up for Deshaun Watson, whom I suspect was their #3 QB on their board, seems like a pre-set decision as well (we must leave this draft with a QB no matter what). The Bengals taking John Ross in the Top 10 after the other two WRs were off the board seemed like a panic move as they probably had already decided they were taking a WR at #9 to complement AJ Green as Dalton needs a loaded group of weapons otherwise he isn’t anything special. The Falcons swapped picks with the Seahawks for Takkharist McKinley and admitted that their deal had been decided on weeks before the draft. I think too many teams are over strategizing these picks instead of just trusting their board. The 49ers and Browns are two franchises that really worked the board nicely by moving down AND up to get players they wanted while the Redskins and Bucs had great drafts by just sitting at their pick and taking the steals that fell in their lap, not overthinking them since they did not have huge needs at those spots. Being flexible can be a very valuable asset on draft day and the Cowboys definitely weren’t that. Finally, it really bothers me knowing there were trade down offers on the table for the Cowboys to move down only a few spots AND they didn’t have a 1st round grade on Taco yet didn’t pull the trigger. That’s rather infuriating.

As a player, Taco projects as the starting WDE right off the bat while DeMarcus Lawrence serves his 4 game suspension. Once he returns, Taco likely will battle with David Irving for playing time at SDE. Taco has great length, strength and has a non-stop motor. He will be a good rotation DE who excels more against the run than against the pass. He likely will be an above average starter who gets a team 6-10 sacks a year but never makes the Pro Bowl. He isn’t the elite athlete that can bend around the corner you want at WDE so he’ll likely stay at SDE. That creates a logjam of sorts as Irving and Crawford already project as fits at that spot, though hopefully Taco’s selection will get the team to leave Crawford at DT full time which I strongly prefer. Last year the Cowboys reached for Jaylon Smith instead of taking the WDE of their dreams (or at least of mine) in Noah Spence. A year later that decision seems to be affecting the team as the team still lacks that special player at the coveted WDE spot and I think it caused them to reach for Taco instead of selecting CB Kevin King who would have been a good pick or CB/S Budda Baker who would have been a great pick. Taco will help this team and the Cowboys need help at pass rusher but I think in 5 years no one will be too sad when Taco leaves in free agency as he was always a solid player but never anything special. Not what you want in your 1st round pick and its also probably the reason why the Cowboys didn’t even have a 1st round grade on him.

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