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Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton grew up outside Columbus and always hoped to attend Ohio State, but that offer never arrived, committing to Michigan over Tennessee, Notre Dame and others. He saw minimal defensive snaps as a true freshman and earned his first start as a sophomore, finishing the 2014 season with 19 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. Charlton was part of Michigan's defensive line rotation in 2015 (three starts) and posted 30 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks. He returned in 2016 and had his best season at Michigan, leading the team with 9.5 sacks to earn First Team All-Big Ten honors.
A one-year starter, Charlton was lost on the depth chart as an underclassman, playing out of position in Michigan's base three-man front. Under new defensive coordinator Don Brown in 2016, the Wolverines switched to a four-man line and Charlton returned to his natural defensive end position, setting career-bests and showing the potential that NFL scouts were hoping to see. He has all the ingredients of a future NFL starter with the desired size, long levers and blend of power and quickness to be effective vs. both the pass and the run. He isn't yet the sum of his parts and needs more seasoning, but the flashes and potential are what will land Charlton in the first round.
STRENGTHS: Passes the eye test with a moldable NFL frame and long arms. Powerful upper body and uses his reach to extend and put blockers on skates. Heavy hands to control the edge and quickly reset his eyes to find the ballcarrier. Expanded his pass rush diversity as a senior, forcing holding penalties with his combination of upper body violence and lower body agility. Initial burst to win gaps and force his way through the shoulder of the offensive tackle. Continued effort from snap to whistle, showing sustained hustle in pursuit. Endures, doesn't wear down and can be an every-down player. Showed gradual improvement the past four seasons, finishing strong as a senior.
WEAKNESSES: Allows his pad level to rise and can be washed out of the hole. Needs to better protect his lower body from cut blocks. Unimaginative pass rush sequence with a predictable spin move. Needs to improve his reaction time and pursuit angles to take away edge runs. Late to read the backfield action, leaving him flat-footed and delayed to the ball -- too many examples of him guessing wrong and needs to get better in this area. Only one season as a full-time starter and finished with 15 collegiate starts on his resume -- late bloomer and struggled to make an impact his first three seasons in Ann Arbor.
COMPARES TO: Justin Tuck -- Similar to Tuck when he entered the NFL out of Notre Dame, Charlton has a large and long body type with the body flexibility and strength potential to be grow into an above average defensive end in a four-man front.