Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton (born November 7, 1994) is an American football defensive end for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Michigan, and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Taco Charlton
refer to caption
Charlton in 2016
No. 96 – Miami Dolphins
Position:Defensive end
Personal information
Born: (1994-11-07) November 7, 1994 (age 25)
Pickerington, Ohio
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:270 lb (122 kg)
Career information
High school:Pickerington Central
(Pickerington, Ohio)
NFL Draft:2017 / Round: 1 / Pick: 28
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2019
Total tackles:67
Forced fumbles:3
Fumble recoveries:1
Pass deflections:2
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Early yearsEdit

Charlton attended Pickerington High School Central in Pickerington, Ohio.[1] He played as a defensive end, outside linebacker and tight end. As a sophomore, he collected 35 tackles and 8 pass breakups.

As a senior, he was a two-way player, registering 116 tackles (24 for loss) and 19 sacks, while receiving Division I All-Ohio honors. He committed to the University of Michigan to play college football as a four-star recruit.[2]

In addition, Charlton played basketball in high school, with future professional players Caris LeVert, Jae'Sean Tate and Javon Bess.[3]

College careerEdit

Charlton accepted a football scholarship from the University of Michigan. As a freshman in 2013, he appeared in 10 games as a backup defensive end, playing mostly on special teams. As a sophomore in 2014, he appeared in 12 games with one start, making 19 tackles (5.5 for loss) and 3.5 sacks.

As a junior in 2015, he was defensive end in a 3-4 defense, appearing in 13 games with three starts, while recording 30 tackles (8.5 for loss) and 5.5 sacks.[4][5]

As a senior in 2016, he became a starter at right defensive end in a 4-3 defense.[6] He suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener and was forced to miss the next 2 games. He returned in the fourth game against Penn State University, posting 3 tackles (2 for loss) and 1.5 sacks. He had 3 tackles and 2 sacks against Rutgers University.[7] He made 9 tackles (3 for loss) and 2.5 sacks against Ohio State University. He finished with 43 tackles (13 for loss), 2 pass breakups and led the team with 9.5 sacks (tenth in school history). He was also named to the All-Big Ten defensive first-team, by both the coaches and media.[8][9]

College statisticsEdit

Year Team GP Tackles Loss Sacks Int FF
2013 Michigan 2 2 0.5 0.0 0 0
2014 Michigan 9 19 5.5 3.5 0 0
2015 Michigan 11 30 8.5 5.5 0 1
2016 Michigan 11 40 13.5 10.0 0 0
College Totals 33 91 28.0 19.0 0 1

Professional careerEdit

NFL DraftEdit

Coming out of Michigan, Charlton was projected by the majority of NFL draft experts and analysts to be a first round pick. He received an invitation to the NFL combine and completed all required combine and positional drills. On March 24, 2017, he attended Michigan's Pro Day, along with Jake Butt, Jabrill Peppers, Jehu Chesson, Jeremy Clark, Amara Darboh, Ben Gedeon, Ryan Glasgow, Lano Hill, Jourdan Lewis, Chris Wormley, De'Veon Smith, Channing Stribling, and seven other prospects.[10]

He opted to run the 40 (4.86), 20 (2.80), and 10-yard dashes (1.63) again and was able to slightly cut times in all three while also running positional drills. Among the team representatives and scouts from all 32 NFL teams that attended Michigan's highly publicized pro day were eight head coaches: Mike Tomlin (Steelers), Marvin Lewis (Bengals), Bill Belichick (Patriots), Todd Bowles (Jets), Sean Payton (Saints), John Harbaugh (Ravens), Mike Mularkey (Titans), and Jim Caldwell (Lions).[11] He was ranked the sixth best edge rusher in the draft by Sports Illustrated, was ranked the sixth best defensive end by ESPN, and was ranked the seventh best edge rusher by Pro Football Focus.[12][13][14][15]

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand size 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP
6 ft 5 58 in
(1.97 m)
277 lb
(126 kg)
34 14 in
(0.87 m)
9 34 in
(0.25 m)
4.92 s 1.69 s 2.85 s 4.39 s 7.17 s 33 in
(0.84 m)
9 ft 8 in
(2.95 m)
25 reps
All value from NFL Combine.[16]

Dallas CowboysEdit


Charlton was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round (28th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.[17] He was the seventh defensive end selected and the second of eleven players drafted from Michigan.[18]

On May 11, 2017, the Dallas Cowboys signed Charlton to a four-year, $10.02 million contract that includes $7.73 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $5.43 million.[19] He competed with Benson Mayowa, Charles Tapper, and Damontre Moore throughout training camp for a backup defensive end position. The coaching staff named Charlton the backup left defensive end behind DeMarcus Lawrence, who went on to have a breakout season and tied for second in the league with 14.5 sacks.

Charlton made his regular season debut in the Dallas Cowboys' season-opener against the New York Giants and finished without any statistic in the 19–3 victory. The following game, he made his first career tackle during the Cowboys' 17–42 loss to the Denver Broncos.[20] He started the season slow, remaining a backup behind DeMarcus Lawrence, who had 14.5 sacks, and Tyrone Crawford. He recorded his first career sack against the Kansas City Chiefs. In the twelfth game against the Washington Redskins, he had 2 tackles, one sack and one forced fumble. He played sparingly as a backup, appearing in 16 games, while posting 19 tackles (one for loss), one pass defended, one forced fumble, 11 quarterback hurries and 3 sacks, with two of them coming in the last nine games.[21]


In 2018, he had to compete for playing time against Tyrone Crawford, Randy Gregory and Dorance Armstrong. He came up with the nickname "Hot Boyz" for the defensive line.[22] It was also portrayed in the media that he started falling out of favor with the defensive coaching staff.

He started the first 7 games at right defensive end opposite of DeMarcus Lawrence and was substituted in passing downs. He had a sack in the season opener against the New York Giants. He suffered a shoulder injury in the eighth game against the Tennessee Titans, that forced him to miss 5 of the next 6 contests. His involvement was limited in the Cowboys 2 playoff games.

Charlton registered 27 tackles, 4 tackles for loss (tied for third on the team), one sack, 4 quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. He appeared in 11 games (7 starts), missing 5 contests because of a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery, and he also had an ankle surgery.


In 2019, he entered training camp with his roster spot in jeopardy, even though Randy Gregory was suspended indefinitely and there were injuries among the defensive ends. The media reported about a meeting he had with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli in the offseason, about concerns with his development.[23]

In the preseason, his playing time increased by taking advantage of injuries to defensive ends Demarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford and Robert Quinn. He had solid performances, with the best one coming in the third game against the Houston Texans, where he registered 3 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries, one pass defensed, 2 forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. His big night was dampened by injury, leaving the contest in 2 separate occasions because of knee and ankle injuries.[24]

Charlton was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season, fueling speculation in the media about his future with the Cowboys. It also didn't help that Charlton showed his displeasure through social media. He tweeted the message “free me” on September 15.[25]

On September 18, 2019 season, two weeks into the season, Charlton was released by the team to make room to activate suspended defensive end Quinn, after Dallas failed to find a trade partner.[26] His tenure with the Cowboys was one of the shortest for a first-round draft choice in franchise history, that didn't involve a career-ending injury.

Miami DolphinsEdit


On September 19, 2019, Charlton was claimed off waivers by the Miami Dolphins.[27] Charlton made his debut with the Dolphins in week 3 against his former team, the Dallas Cowboys. In the game, Charlton recorded 2 tackles and one sack as the Dolphins lost 31-6. [28] In week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers, Charlton recorded 6 tackles and a sack on Philip Rivers in the 30-10 loss. [29]

Personal lifeEdit

Charlton's nickname, "Taco", was given to him by his mother and grandmother.[30]


  1. ^ "U-M's Butt, Charlton are pride of Pickerington — just outside Columbus". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  2. ^ "DE Charlton chooses U-M". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  3. ^ "Two-sport star? Beilein remembers U-M's Charlton on court". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  4. ^ "Michigan's Taco Charlton says there's no excuse anymore, he's shooting for a big final year". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  5. ^ "Michigan's Taco Charlton lighter, comfortable at old position". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  6. ^ "Windsor: Taco Charlton helps make Michigan's DL among best in nation". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  7. ^ "A call to arms: U-M's Taco Charlton using wingspan to disrupt offenses". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "Peppers, Lewis Lead All 11 Defenders Honored by B1G". CBS Interactive. November 29, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  9. ^ "2016 Big Ten Individual Award Winners" (PDF). Big Ten Conference. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  10. ^ Gil Brandt (March 24, 2017). "Pro day results: Michigan, Cal, BYU, Akron, Utah State". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  11. ^ Chase Goodbread (March 24, 2017). "Michigan pro day workout draws long list of NFL coaches". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  12. ^ Chris Burke (April 24, 2017). "2017 NFL draft rankings: Top prospects by position". Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  13. ^ Jeff Legwold (April 22, 2017). "Ranking the 2017 Draft's Top 100 Prospects". Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  14. ^ "Top 32 Prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft". Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  15. ^ "Taco Charlton, DS #4 DE, Michigan". Retrieved May 23, 2017.
  16. ^ "Taco Charlton NFL Draft profile". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  17. ^ "How First-Round Pick Taco Charlton Will Fit In The Cowboys' Defensive Plans". April 27, 2017. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  18. ^ "2017 NFL Draft". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  19. ^ " Taco Charlton contract". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  20. ^ "NFL Player Profile: Taco Charlton". Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  21. ^ "Taco Charlton feeling different as he climbs into Year 2". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  22. ^ "So far, Taco Charlton's Hot Boyz are living up to their name". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  23. ^ "'Man talk': Rod Marinelli wants more from Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, and that was made clear this summer". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  24. ^ "Taco Charlton's 2019 season mantra: 'Show up, play football, get better'". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  25. ^ "Free Taco: Cowboys cut former first-rounder". Retrieved September 28, 2019.
  26. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (September 18, 2019). "Cowboys waive former first-round pick Taco Charlton".
  27. ^ Kerr, Jeff (September 19, 2019). "Taco Charlton claimed off waivers by Dolphins, former Cowboys first-round pick will face his old team right away".
  28. ^ "Prescott, Cowboys get out of funk, ease past Dolphins 31-6". September 22, 2019. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  29. ^ "Long time coming: Rivers, Chargers beat Dolphins, 30-10". September 29, 2019. Retrieved September 29, 2019.
  30. ^ George, Brandon (April 28, 2017). "Introducing first-round pick Taco Charlton: From mom's draft-night prayer to dad's Cowboys fandom". Retrieved January 25, 2018.

External linksEdit