There are hundreds of stories being told during the planning and anticipation of the 2017 NFL Draft. Today we will be looking at a scouting report for senior defensive end Vidauntae “Taco” Charlton, Michigan Wolverines.
DE-Vidauntae “Taco” Charlton Michigan, 6’6” 272 lbs.
This former Columbus, Ohio high school basketball player made his dreams of playing in the Big Ten a reality, despite being rejected by his hometown Buckeyes. His nickname of Taco began at age six with his love of the meaty treat according to legend. His collegiate impact was not felt until he became a starter this past season. As I’m a high school football coach and educator by trade, let’s break down what I saw in the six games I reviewed of the senior defender: 2016 contests against Ohio State, Florida State, Iowa, Rutgers, Wisconsin, and Penn State. Most of these game videos are available via draftbreakdown.com. These are my thoughts:
Cons: When motivated the defender is quick off the line, but he has a tendency to wait on what his opposing tackle is doing before making his move. It appears to be indecision or patience, not laziness. In his usual three-point stance on the line of scrimmage, his head and eyes appear down leading to him being unable to get a read off the center snapping the ball. He will need to read the offense more quickly at the next level. There were times he was very aggressive that caused him to over-pursue while getting off-balanced which opened up running and passing lanes that a more disciplined defender would have bottled up. Charlton uses more technique than power and needs to improve his lower body strength. The defensive end dealt with on and off again ankle injuries the entire season, so it might take time for him to grow into a starting role at the next level.
Pros: The former Wolverine has long arms and a muscular build with a quick first step and can line up in a two, three, or four point stance at the line of scrimmage. He can line up on either the left or right side, uses good bend, is highly athletic, and can kick inside when necessary. “Taco” uses spins and swim moves to get around blockers while rushing the passer, but can rely too much on an inside spin. Charlton hits hard and does an excellent job wrapping up the ball carrier while using all of his weight to punish them on the way to the ground. The defender plays a little better against the run, moving well down the line of scrimmage, and pursuing downfield. His pass rushing improved every year, and he finished last season with nine and a half sacks.
Overall impressions: His most natural fit would be a 4-3 defensive end which would allow him to attack the line of scrimmage and spend less time anchoring. I see him beginning his NFL career as more of a situational rusher who will get plenty of snaps, but owners will need to be a little patient with him. Hopefully, Charlton will get stronger and learn more technique. He is just inside my top five rookie defensive linemen rankings as I don’t see loose enough hips for him to play an outside linebacker role.
Thanks for reading. I will continue to discuss my scouting reports with you throughout the next several months, so keep checking the site for more content. Please check out my other content as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @AndrewMiley.