Nobody should be surprised if the Dolphins use their first-round pick on a defensive lineman, and one of the players being considered with that 22nd overall pick said Miami has invited him to visit team headquarters.
Taco Charlton, the Michigan defensive end who had 9.5 sacks last season, told The Detroit Free Press that he will visit Davie to meet with Dolphins officials.
Charlton had that high sack total despite playing with an ankle sprain last season.
“Inconsistent has been the buzzword that has followed Charlton since coming to Michigan, but he began the process of shaking it during his senior season,” NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein said. “Charlton is an ascending prospect with the size, length, athleticism and pass-rushing potential that NFL general managers dream of.
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“What you see today might not be what you get. While his production coming out of college will be modest, he could become a substantially better player as a pro if he's committed to the weight room and willing to absorb coaching. High-impact defensive end with all-pro potential is his ceiling. His floor is solid starter.”
Zierlein quotes and AFC executive as saying this about Charlton: “Really, really talented player. You won't always see it on every play so that is going to be a coach's job to get that out of him. Rushers with his size and athleticism are hard to find and they usually go very early in the draft.”
ESPN’s Mel Kiper predicts Charlton will slip to 31st Charlton “because a 4.92 40 at 6-6, 277 at the combine was concerning. He's still a first-round talent, however. Charlton has long arms (34¼ inches) and active hands and takes ideal angles when rushing the passer.”
ESPN’s Todd McShay has Charlton going 28th to Dallas. “Charlton is just a solid all-around player -- he can get after the QB and stop the run,” McShay said. “He has always had the raw ability, but this past season he showed more consistency and refined technique, finishing the season on a tear (10 sacks in his final 10 games).”
Charlton, who is 6-6 and 270 pounds, played mostly on special teams as a true freshman (two tackles), then saw his playing time increase in 2014 (19 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, one start). Charlton started just three games as a junior but played well on passing downs (30 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks). And then he made all Big Ten first team last year.
The Dolphins are using several of their 30 permitted visits on defensive ends, and we’re told Arkansas’ Dietrich Wise Jr. also has been scheduled for a visit.
The 6-5, 271-pounder had eight sacks in 2015 but just 3.5 last year while dealing with assorted injuries that limited his snaps.
Here is Zierlein’s assessment of Wise on NFL.com:
OVERVIEW: Deatrich Wise, Sr. was a ninth-round pick in 1998 by Seattle and also played in the Canadian Football League. Junior wasn't a starter until his senior year, and then he only did so in the opening eight games as he dealt with a hand injury suffered in the opener along with other injuries that limited his snaps later in the year. He did produce in that role, however, ending up with 49 stops, 5.5 for loss, and 3.5 sacks for the season. Wise got on scouts' radars by racking up eight sacks and two forced fumbles as a reserve in 2015. He also played regularly off the bench in 2013 (one start, 17 tackles, three TFL, two sacks) and 2014 (one start, 13 tackles, three TFL, two sacks).
STRENGTHS: Uncommon arm length (35 inches) with enormous hands. Terrific power in his punch and is able to jolt tackles with it. Uses brute force to set a strong edge. Can rag-doll blockers with stack-and-jerk upper body power. Effective use of arm length to keep blockers out of his frame. Heavy tackler engulfing ball carrier with full weight of his frame. Uses long strides to gain ground up the field as pass rusher. Powers through contact when he's at the edge. Legitimate bull-rush potential when pad level is good. Has frame that will accept more mass. Quick getting hands into passing lane when rush stalls. Deflected six passes over last two seasons. His "try-hard" is never in doubt. Has experience as a five-technique in Arkansas' defensive front.
WEAKNESSES: Production fell well below expectations. Lost early down reps during senior season. Heavy-stepper with excessive stride length for short-area movement. Lacks lateral quickness and ability needed in twist games as rusher. Painfully slow to restart engine after changing direction. Below average reactive quickness allows running backs to dart past him. Tackling range has limitations. Hands have power but not suddenness. Won't get many quick wins at point of attack in the backfield. Pad level rises as rep rolls on. Upfield rush doesn't threaten the edge. Tackles drop early anchors to counter his power. Needs active feet after contact. Lacks edge rush ability to stay outside on third downs.
BOTTOM LINE: Slow-twitch power player with rare physical attributes but a lack of functional athleticism to chalk up a stat sheet. Might have been miscast as a 4-3 defensive end considering his lack of quickness and rush talent. But his length and power at the point of attack could make him an attractive Day 3 (Rounds 4-7) draft option for 3-4 teams looking for a two-gapping defensive end with the traits to bounce back from a disappointing senior season.
The Dolphins, of course, play a 4-3.
For a look at a couple of safety prospects that the Dolphins are summoning to Davie, please click here. And please follow me on Twitter: @flasportsbuzz