Dallas Cowboys

Here is what’s really going on with former Cowboys first round draft pick Taco Charlton

That defensive end Taco Charlton and defensive tackle Trysten Hill were inactive for the season opener gave rise to questions of the Cowboys being unhappy with the play of the team’s top picks in the 2017 and 2019 NFL Drafts, respectively.

There is no question that Hill, a second-round pick from Central Florida, made little noise in the preseason and training camp.

But while Charlton’s struggles over the last two seasons have been well-chronicled, he was coming off arguably the best camp and preseason of his career.

Considering the team’s depth on the defensive line, especially at the end position with Robert Quinn coming back from a two-game suspension for the Week 3 match up against the Dolphins, might the Cowboys be preserving Charlton for a possible trade?

The NFL trade deadline in Oct. 29.

“We’re always looking to make our roster better, so we’ll see how that works out,” said vice president Stephen Jones on Monday when asked indirectly on 105.3 The Fan about Charlton being inactive against the Giants and the possibility of a move in the near future.

Jones has been actively talking about the defensive line depth and possibility of a trade since the start of training camp but that was before being compromised by Quinn’s two-game suspension for using a banned substance.

Coach Jason Garrett was similarly cryptic when asked during his radio show on ESPN SA Monday morning if Charlton had a future with the team.

“Yeah, we’ll see,” was his initially answer before going into a diatribe about the 46-man game day roster and the competition for the eight active spots along the defensive line.

He said they played the guys they thought gave them the best chance to win. That meant Dorance Armstrong, a 4th-round pick in 2018, and Kerry Hyder, a free-agent signee, and rookie fifth-round pick Joe Jackson were valued ahead of Charlton at end to play behind starters DeMarcus Lawrence and Tyrone Crawford.

That Hyder and Jackson could also play inside at tackle gave the team more flexibility, resulting in the sitting of Hill.

“We just felt like the eight guys we had up for the game gave us the best chance,” he said.

“We had to be a little bit mindful of how many snaps Tyrone Crawford and DLaw could play in the game. We wanted to have Joe Jackson up there, and he might have a little versatility to play inside as well. Then we had the three other defensive tackles available to us. We wanted Kerry Hyder up in the game and Dorance Armstrong up in the game. The versatility, but also kinda what they’ve done up to that point. It’s a competition every week to see who gets the chance to put the jersey on as a member of the 46-man roster, and that will continue.”

There’s a good chance Charlton, who put good performances on tape in the preseason, sits again, as the Cowboys preserve him for a trade.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.