Former Dallas Cowboys’ first-round pick Taco Charlton was becoming a fixture on Kansas City’s defense last year, but a devastating ankle injury abruptly ended his season.
The towering defensive end was a highly regarded prospect when he was drafted in 2017, but he struggled to find a niche elsewhere before joining the Chiefs in 2020. In seven games, Charlton had two sacks and a forced fumble, making consistent progress week-by-week in a rotational role.
His contract last year was a one-year “prove it” deal that might have landed him a larger payday this offseason had he stayed healthy. Now, Charlton is focusing on rehabbing his ankle and getting back to 100-percent before the new season is in full effect.
“Some days I feel great,” Charlton said, addressing the media Wednesday. “Some days after banging around, I may come back and it’s a little sore, it’s hurting me a little bit, but it has its good days and bad days.”
The sudden end to last season still seems to resonate for Charlton, who hopes for a mulligan on his fresh start in Kansas City.
“Having the season over like that in a blink of an eye for me was tough,” Charlton explained, “So I’m happy to get a chance to be out here with my teammates and be in a position to help win games in the future.”
Charlton should see more opportunities to contribute this season with the team in pursuit of another Super Bowl. Kansas City desperately needed someone to provide some juice in the pass rush, especially during the playoffs last year, so his presence should help solidify the front of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense.
More than anything, though, Charlton seems genuinely grateful to be playing for the Chiefs this season.
“I’m happy to be here,” he said, “Happy to be with this team and happy to have a coaching staff that loves coaching me and loves pushing me and wanting me to be a better player.”
When Kansas City signed him last season, there was hope for untapped potential in Charlton that previous teams were unable to capitalize on. Once fully recovered from his ankle injury, it’s not out of the question that the defensive end could become a dominating presence, and with the help of his coaches, revitalize his young career.
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