. The pads are coming on today at Dallas Cowboys training camp.
That means the first chance to see rookie defensive end Taco Charlton going against the Cowboys’ elite offensive linemen. And the 28th overall pick from Michigan is ready for it.
“It’s going to be good work. It’s a good challenge,” Charlton said. “It’s pushing me to be the best. Going against the best is going to make you perform.
“I’m not a guy who likes to get bullied or likes to get beat every time, so I’m definitely very competitive. It’s definitely going to push me.”
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Charlton, 22, has gotten his first glimpse of what it means to play for America’s Team, practicing in front of thousands of fans the opening two days of camp. That’s something he never experienced at Michigan, a big-time college program who has a rabid following, but closed practices.
“It’s an adrenaline boost,” Charlton said.
Charlton is ready to contribute to the Cowboys’ pass rush that has been a weak link in recent years. The Cowboys finished with 36 sacks, but went through stretches where they struggled getting to the quarterback.
In the playoff loss to Green Bay, Dallas had three sacks – all by defensive backs.
“[Charlton] is a pass rush guy to get to the quarterback and that’s what we need,” defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford said. “Just being 100 percent honest, we need a guy that can get to the quarterback. We’ve got guys that can stop the run. We’ve got men.
“I’m not saying Taco is not a man, but I’m saying we got men and he’s going to stop the run as well. But he’s good at getting to the quarterback and we’re going to use that and see what we can do with him.”
Charlton has high expectations for himself in his rookie season. Most pass rushers take a couple years to develop, but Charlton feels he can make an immediate impact on the team.
“I believe in my ability,” Charlton said. “I know what I can do. I have a great defensive line coach and going against some of the best offensive linemen every day, so they’re pushing at me to be the best also.
“Like I said, I believe in my abilities. I believe I can come in there and contribute and help this defensive line. Help this defense out and help us win games.”