The regular season marks the culmination of an extensive investigation into who your team will be that year. By this point, you’ve gone through free agency, the draft, training camp, and the preseason. You feel good in your decisions insofar as you can create clarity without having played meaningful games. But there are still plenty of uncertainties that remain, whether at the start of the regular season or the end, and new ones continually develop over time.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Taco Charlton can be a capable third edge rusher for the Steelers in the event of Melvin Ingram’s absence.
Explanation: With the speculation about Melvin Ingram potentially being traded by the end of the day, the question immediately turns to depth. Derrek Tuszka is the Steelers’ fourth edge on the 53-man roster, but former first-round pick Taco Charlton is on the practice squad, and was elevated and played in Sunday’s game, which Ingram missed.
While Charlton may be best known as the edge that the Dallas Cowboys drafted a couple of spots ahead of where the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted T.J. Watt in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, that doesn’t mean he can’t be a valued contributor.
Charlton never earned a full-time starting role at any point in his career, having a total of 12 starts in 45 games played. But he has been able to have success rotationally; for example, he recorded five sacks in about 400 snaps with the Dolphins in 2019. He played only 90 snaps for the Chiefs last season, but had two sacks and four hits. Guess what? Ingram has one sack and six hits in 246 snaps this year.
There’s a reason Charlton has been with a different team nearly every year of his career. He’s just not very good. The Steelers have a tendency to collect pedigree at times, and the results of that can be hit or miss, but the point is this: The pass rush is going to fall off a cliff if Watt misses a game like he did earlier in the year.
A big part of being that third guy is being capable of coming in and preventing there from being a big drop if you have to play a big role due to injury. Ingram is that guy, even if he didn’t have a great game in the contest Watt and Highsmith missed. You wouldn’t even want to ask Charlton to do that. They might even play Tuszka over him, for all we know right now.