Kansas City Chiefs DE Taco Charlton’s 2020 campaign was ended early by a fractured ankle. The former first-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys is now fully healthy and teasing improvements to his game ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
“Last year was a sneak peek,” Charlton wrote on Twitter. “I’m on something different this year.”
Charlton appeared in just seven games for Kansas City during the 2020 season, recording 8 total tackles, one tackle for loss, two sacks, 12 total pressures and a forced fumble. It was a small glimpse of what he was capable of doing as a situational pass-rusher in Steve Spagnuolo’s dime packages, but it was also an encouraging glimpse with just 90 snaps on the year.
Last year was a sneak peak im on something different this year 🤞🏿
— Taco Charlton (@TheSupremeTaco) July 15, 2021
Charlton’s limited contributions weren’t all on his injury. The COVID-19-altered offseason put him behind on learning a new defensive system in Kansas City. He didn’t play in a single preseason game due to the pandemic. He saw his Chiefs debut in Week 2 against the Los Angeles Chargers and made key plays in the game, ultimately earning more opportunities from that point forward.
Now, with serious questions surrounding the defensive end position in light of Frank Clark’s recent arrests, the Chiefs need Charlton to step up and perform as a former first-round pick should. This is a contract year for Charlton too, so it’s within his best interest to put together a solid year in Kansas City as well. The ideal situation would be for Charlton to emerge as a starter, but even contributing more frequently in a rotation of players would be considered an improvement from his introductory season with the team.
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