Philadelphia Eagles: It’s Taco (Charlton) time in South Philly

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

With a severe lack of production on the defensive line, the Philadelphia Eagles should claim ex-Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton off waivers.

The Philadelphia Eagles‘ defensive end rotation is kind of a mess right now.

Sure, the team still has incumbent starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett – who have combined for 11 total tackles, three tackles for a loss, and eight QB hits – but behind them, the cupboard is pretty much bare – a pretty insane statement for a team with six ends on their roster.

While Vinny Curry has practically made a career out of soaking up snaps as a reserve both on the inside and outside, he hasn’t been a dominant force off the edge since 2014. The same goes for ultra-athletic yet totally unproductive Josh Sweat, who hasn’t logged a single sack in 2018, or 2019.

More from Philadelphia Eagles

But what about preseason star Daeshon Hall, or 2019 fourth round pick Shareef Miller? Well, we don’t know, as neither player has logged a snap in either Week 1 or Week 2 – they actually spent both games in street clothes.

Simply put, the Eagles need something – anything – to try to drum up some life on their defensive line, as the unit has combined for exactly one sack thus far.

And don’t even get me started on their defensive tackle depth. After turning away promising players like Treyvon Hester, Bruce Hector, and Aziz Shittu because of a ‘surplus’ of talent, the team is now going to either start Hassan Ridgeway or Akeem Spence next to Fletcher Cox.


But what if I were to tell you that there was a position flexible, former first-round pick the Eagles could pick up on the cheap with extensive NFC East experience? Sounds pretty good, right?

Well, that player exists, and his name is Taco Charlton.

Alright, technically his ‘real’ first name is Vidauntae, but the player affectionately known as Taco has been going by the South of the Border moniker since early childhood, so we’ll let it slide here at Section 215.

A one-year wonder at the University of Michigan, Charlton earned unanimous All-Big Ten defensive first-team honors after a monster 10 sack season in 2016. While this limited window of production caused some scouts to wonder whether his ultimate NFL ceiling was at the pro level, Charlton’s tape alone warranted near-universal first-round grades across the board – except, ironically enough, in the Dallas Cowboys war room, where he was deemed a Day 2 prospect.

However, for whatever reason, Jerry Jones and company selected Charlton anyway – making a high-risk, high-reward gamble that clearly came up snake eyes.

Over 27 regular-season appearances with the Cowboys, including seven starts, Charlton largely underperformed his draft pedigree, only amassing four sacks and 46 combined tackles on 800 defensive snaps.

Clearly, that lack of production made Charlton expendable going into Year 3, and when free-agent acquisition defensive end Robert Quinn became eligible to return from suspension, Jones and company opted to #FreeTaco and placed him on waivers.

But in the NFL, one team’s trash is another team’s treasure.

Granted, Charlton isn’t going to step into Jim Schwartz‘s system and rack up 14 sacks, but despite running a 4.92 40 at 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, there’s a whole lot to like about Taco from an athletic standpoint. As a base defensive end, Charlton would be the tallest defensive lineman on the Eagles roster. He also has very long arms and is remarkably lean for weighing in at 270.

While this is all great, the real magic of Charlton comes on obvious passing downs.

You see, while Charlton can be an effective base defensive end against the run, his size and length make him an ideal candidate to shift inside on obvious passing downs to rush the passer from the interior.

With a massive hole in production at both defensive tackle and end, Charlton could come in and instantly take up two spots on the depth chart, doubling his potential to impact games.

That style of play is what got Curry signed to a monster five-year, $47.25 million deal back in 2016 – when Vinny was four years older than Taco is right now.

Next. Please come home Jordan Matthews. dark

So while Taco Charlton may not step in and become a generational talent, superstar, or even consistent starter in 2019, for the price of a waiver wire claim – or a one-year, prove-it deal – the Philadelphia Eagles could add an intriguing defensive line prospect with position flexibility, a deep desire to prove himself in a new scheme, and an innate knowledge of the Dallas Cowboys’ scheme – what could be better than that?