Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton continually improved during his Michigan career. The first-team All-Ohio selection "crossed the border" from Pickerington, a Columbus suburb, to play for the Wolverines (along with tight end Jake Butt). He played mostly on special teams as a true freshman (two tackles), then saw his playing time increase in 2014 (19 tackles, 5.5 for loss, 3.5 sacks, one start). Though Charlton started just three games as a junior, he was a strong contributor on passing downs (30 tackles, 8.5 for loss, 5.5 sacks). Everything came together for him in 2016, garnering first-team All-Big Ten honors after leading Michigan with 9.5 sacks among his 13 tackles for loss.
Rare combination of size, length and athletic traits as a rusher. Long-levered frame with athletic, knotted calves. Brings freaky athletic traits to table and is still growing into his body. Flashes instant reaction time off snap and up the field thanks to his twitch. Has enough upfield juice to push offensive tackles into hasty retreat. Generates pop through speed-to-power element. Very good flexibility throughout. Able to sink and swerve around corner if he gets early lead in race to the edge. Possesses hip swivel combined with shoulder turn to slip and flip around the corner of an offensive tackle he's engaged with as a pass rusher. Rushes with forward lean that keeps his momentum downhill. Uses rip-and-stab move and an ominous spin move that could turn into a dominant rush trait in the NFL. Elongated lateral slides can open into sprint very quickly to chase run play bouncing outside. Length gives him a shot at dramatically increasing his play-making ability against the run. Hand usage is improving.
Despite talent and traits, production and overall play has been uneven at Michigan. Earned full-time starting nod in just his final season. Needs more weight-room work. Consistency of anchor at point of attack in question. Can be rooted out of his gap by power. Can do better job of using his length to keep blockers off of him. Doesn't make enough plays on other side of the line against run. Needs to show a nastier play demeanor at all times. Scouts question whether he has enough toughness for trench battles if bumped inside or to 5-technique. Held back by his inconsistent play speed. Excessive leaning and narrowing of his base during the play causes balance and footwork inconsistencies. Needs better readiness to take on move blockers.
Sources Tell Us
"Really, really talented player. You won't always see it on every play so that is going to be a coach's job to get that out of him. Rushers with his size and athleticism are hard to find and they usually go very early in the draft." -- AFC executive
"Inconsistent" has been the buzzword that has followed Charlton since coming to Michigan, but he began the process of shaking it during his senior season. Charlton is an ascending prospect with the size, length, athleticism and pass-rushing potential that NFL general managers dream of. What you see today might not be what you get. While his production coming out of college will be modest, he could become a substantially better player as a pro if he's committed to the weight room and willing to absorb coaching. High-impact defensive end with all-pro potential is his ceiling. His floor is solid starter.