Miami Dolphins

Pre-Draft Film Breakdown: A closer look at Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton believes he’s better than what he showed at the Combine. Do teams believe the same?
Taco Charlton believes he’s better than what he showed at the Combine. Do teams believe the same? AP

This is the fourth in a series of film breakdowns of players that the Dolphins could draft with the 22nd overall pick next week.

Part 1: Haason Reddick.

Part 2: Jordan Willis.

Part 3: Forrest Lamp.

Perhaps Taco Charlton simply needed Stephen Ross in the (field) house.

The Wolverines defensive end does a lot of his best work with the Dolphins owner — and University of Michigan mega-donor — on the sidelines.

So when Charlton got a second chance to make a big impression last month at Michigan’s pro day — with Ross among the many on-hand to watch — he seized it.

Charlton, who ran molasses slow at the NFL Scouting Combine, bounced back with a 40 time that probably saved his first-round draft grade.

Charlton insisted that he ran at least a tenth of a second faster 40 at his pro day than he did in Indianapolis (where he clocked a shockingly slow 4.92). If that’s the case, he’s likely going to go in the first round’s second half.

The relevant question to those of us in South Florida: Could, and should, he reunite with Ross in Miami?

The Dolphins have a ton of needs, but here's who Adam Beasley thinks the team might pick in this year's draft.

The Dolphins are going to take a defensive end next weekend — and probably early.

And while general manager Chris Grier revealed Wednesday that defensive ends do not necessarily have to have prototype size for the Dolphins to consider them, Charlton checks a still-important size box.

He’s 6-foot-6, 277 pounds. He was first-team all-conference after leading the Wolverines with 9.5 sacks as a senior. On paper, at least he should be able to set the edge in a way Mario Williams never could last year.

His arrow is trending up.

But does the tape reveal the same? Our friend Max Himmelrich says no — at least not always.


Age: 22.

Height: 6-foot-6.

Weight: 277 pounds.

Arm length: 34 1/4 inches.

Hands: 9 3/4 inches.

40 time: 4.92 seconds.

Bench press: 25 reps.

Vertical jump: 33.0 inches.

Broad jump: 116 inches.

Three-cone drill: 7.17 seconds.

20-yard shuffle: 4.39 seconds.

SPARQ score: 121.6, 56th percentile, 20th among draft-eligible edge rushers.

Miami Dolphins GM Chris Grier talks about the upcoming draft and the importance of players being tough, competitive and loving football but character is just as important when they look for potential pick.

Film breakdown

Max’s take

Pros: Taco Charlton does have the prototypical build for a 4-3 defensive end. He's 6-6, 277 pounds, with 34+ inch arms. On tape, he does show quickness for someone playing at his size. His spin move was effective in some instances, and he shows the ability to use leverage to power through smaller players.

Cons: Charlton's tape is highly inconsistent. I don't believe his single year of productivity was as dominant as some made it out to be, and there were several sacks on which he was completely unblocked. In addition, Charlton doesn't necessarily show numbers in athletic testing that would indicate that he's a prime candidate to be a "raw athlete" type of choice. He came in under the 64th percentile for the three-cone drill, broad jump and vert. In addition, after skipping the Senior Bowl, Charlton ran a 4.92 40-yard dash in Indy, placing in the 27th percentile for defensive ends.

Fit for the Dolphins: Purely as a 4-3 end, Charlton does "fit" for the Dolphins. However, the question is whether or not he would be the best way to utilize resources. He would be a project, and even then he doesn't come with the athletic testing that would indicate a particularly high payoff. I do not believe that Charlton would be able to beat out William Hayes or Andre Branch for a starting job as a rookie -- to me, the Michigan DE is a second-round pick. A team could fall in love with him early, but I do not believe that his raw athletic ability or tape would pass the risk-reward test.

Adam H. Beasley: 305-376-3565, @AdamHBeasley

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