NFL Draft

2017 Sporting News Mock Draft: Steelers Take EDGE Taco Charlton

Finally, a mock draft that doesn’t have the Pittsburgh Steelers taking Jabrill Peppers.

Sporting News rolled out their latest mock draft this morning. And while they’re one of the few national outlets to stray away from Peppers, they’re staying in the same school, selecting Taco Charlton in the first round.

Pittsburgh has certainly had interest in the top Michigan defensive players from Peppers, Charlton, and Chris Wormley. The Steelers met with the latter two at their Pro Day. Here’s what author Ron Clements wrote about the pick.

“Though he was a full-time starter just one season, Charlton was a first-team All-Big Ten selection after collecting 9 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. At 6-6, 277, Charlton has superior length with 34-inch arms and can wreak havoc up front. He has to be more consistent, and a defensive coaching staff like Pittsburgh’s should help him develop into an every-down starter.”

For what it’s worth, Peppers is off the board one pic ahead to the Green Bay Packers so maybe that’s the reason why he isn’t the selection here.

Though there was interest in Charlton, it’s hard to imagine him being a great fit in the Steelers’ defense. As Clements points out, he’s 6’6, awfully tall to try to play the edge. If he were to come to Pittsburgh, maybe he would truly become that “elephant” player, the buzzword of two years ago that was quickly forgotten about. The Steelers own Julius Peppers. But that’s a lofty, and unlikely, bar to reach.

It’s not like he tested well either. He ran a 4.92, a 1.7 ten split, though to his credit, ran a 7.17 three cone, a much better time than many others we’ve discussed with the pick. By comparison, Cal Lawson ran a 7.46 and Takk McKinley turned in a 7.48.

The only notable EDGE rushers off the board in this mock by 30 were Derek Barnett and Charles Harris. Some surprises include Christian McCaffrey at 8th and Chidobe Awuzie going off the board at 14th overall, the highest I think I’ve ever seen him taken.

Check out our full report on Charlton below.

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