Cowboys (obviously) regret taking Taco Charlton over T.J. Watt

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In every draft, every team has a regret (or two or three).

Some are bigger than others. Some are harder to explain than others.

Take the 2017 draft. Everyone knew the Cowboys would take a pass rusher after Benson Mayowa led them with six sacks in 2016. It was just a matter of which one.

When their turn came, at 28th overall, the Cowboys had the choice of Michigan’s Taco Charlton or Wisconsin’s T.J. Watt.

It seems like a no-brainer now, but the Cowboys selected Charlton and the Steelers chose Watt two picks later.

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones admitted regret Friday.

“Absolutely,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “You always do that, if you’re truthful and you’re honest – what you might could have had.”

Watt has 41 career sacks, including 6.5 this season, and earned All-Pro honors last year. Charlton lasted only two seasons in Dallas, spent time in Miami and now plays in Kansas City. He has 11 career sacks, including two this season for the Chiefs.

Jones confirmed what long has been intimated in Dallas: Then defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli wanted Charlton.

Mike Nolan replaced Marinelli as defensive coordinator this season, with Marinelli now in Las Vegas as the Raiders’ defensive line coach. The Cowboys have switched from the Tampa Two to a more multiple scheme.

Watt would fit perfectly. (Of course, Watt would fit any team in any scheme.)

“The harder part of that is [Watt] was in serious contention [at No. 28],” Jones said. “I think the biggest issue was we were playing a 4-3 there with Rod, and Rod was concerned about how he’d hold up against the run in the 4-3. [He] didn’t have that same concern with Taco. Obviously, if you had that to do all over again, I wish we would have done that, and, of course, he would fit in probably better in some of the things we’re trying to do now with coach Nolan and our defense. So, you know, he’s obviously a great player. He’s already on his way to a great career, not unlike his brother, and congratulate the Steelers for getting him.”

27 responses to “Cowboys (obviously) regret taking Taco Charlton over T.J. Watt

  1. You can’t say that who knows who’s going to be great, and who isn’t. Just look at RGIII for proof of that. There were teams, and scores of scouts who said RGIII was the best thing since sliced bread, and they said he was a can’t miss sure fire future Hall of Famer, and where is he now? Right exactly. Drafting isn’t an exact science it’s hit or miss on almost every guy. Who thought that skinny kid named Tom Brady was going to one day win 6 Superbowls and play until he was 50? Nobody that’s who

  2. People forget that Charlton was highly regarded, and has shown lots of physical excellence in the pros…his issues seem to be in the head and with assignments, and that’s a hard thing to evaluate. It’s also forgotten that Watt had MAJOR injury questions coming out of college, and so had issues even beyond the usual football uncertainties.

    And it isn’t as if Dallas is the only team that regrets its choice. Look at the career production of the other DEs taken ahead of Watt and after Garrett at #1 overall: Solomon Thomas (6 sacks), Derek Barnett (17.5), Charles Harris (5.5), Takk McKinley (17.5). We can all agree that Watt has made a lot of teams look unwise for doubting him!

  3. You can’t say that who knows who’s going to be great, and who isn’t. Just look at RGIII for proof of that. There were teams, and scores of scouts who said RGIII was the best thing since sliced bread, and they said he was a can’t miss sure fire future Hall of Famer, and where is he now? Right exactly. Drafting isn’t an exact science it’s hit or miss on almost every guy. Who thought that skinny kid named Tom Brady was going to one day win 6 Superbowls and play until he was 50? Nobody that’s who

    —–

    RG3 got injured by a dirty cheap shot by haloti ngata. not a good example

  4. Rod Marinelli led the Lions to the NFL’s first 0-16 season, and you’re gonna trust him for input on talent?

  5. It’s much easier evaluating a pass rusher than a quarterback. The knock on a pass rusher is usually whether or not they can stay healthy. Watt was very raw, meaning he had little college experience. Pittsburgh looked at that as an advantage because they could teach him their technique’s. He also didn’t come in with bad habits that were committed to muscle memory. Bud Dupree did come in with technique issues and it took longer to teach him.

  6. I don’t know if a kid named Taco is a great pick, regardless of round. I do know that bloodlines and motor means a lot, and TJ has both.

  7. Every team and personnel exec can say this and self scouting is critical. That being said, Cowboys seem to me to be a better than average drafting team ( and I’m an Eagles fan). Their problem is not getting talent into the building, it is what happens after players get there.

  8. I guarantee that TJ Watt doesn’t regret it… the Cowboys are an embarrassment to professional football, and losing a quarterback shouldn’t make your entire team look like it should be in the CFL rather than the NFL.

  9. steelcurtainn says:
    November 7, 2020 at 10:37 am
    The Steelers don’t regret it.

    0 1 Rate This
    Everyone hates the Steelers

  10. My recollection could be wrong, but I don’t remember Watt being a can’t miss prospect either. I remember some people hoping he could be half the player his brother was.

    I remember Taco being a high school basketball beast (more highly regarded than Caris Levert, for example) who emerged later as a bigger football prospect due to his size and athleticism, and ended up going to Michigan like every other Columbus local (like Jake Butt, plus Levert in BBall, OSU didn’t recruit these guys for some reason) at the time. He had a very inconsistent college career with flashes here and there. I knew he would be overdrafted because of measurables.

  11. In fairness if everyone knew back then what Watt would play like now he’d have been taken way earlier than the Cowboy’s pick at #28.

  12. Why is that all of the good draft picks were chosen by Jerry, Stephen and Will McClay, and all of the bad draft picks were chosen by the coaches. No wonder this organization sucks and will never win. If there is no honesty or accountability starting from the top, there will be no accountability in the entire organization.

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