Three teams in four seasons isn’t the usual path for a first-round draft pick in the NFL, but for Taco Charlton, it’s one that led him to joining the Chiefs this offseason.
After the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins released the defensive end, Charlton said he finally wants to prove his worth.
“My foot is on the gas for this one. I’m not saying I gave my full effort everywhere I’ve been. All (other) situations, things came to an end and it was kind of mutual. It wasn’t really much of a surprise,” Charlton said. “I was feeling kind of out of position a little bit in the past. This year, I feel like I’ll be comfortable and use my talents to the best of my ability.”
Turns out Kansas City might just be the right landing point for Charlton, as he’s reuniting with former Michigan teammate and Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark.
“Me and Frank (are) real close, like my big brother,” Charlton said. “He’s a person who at Michigan, kind of took me under his wing, guiding me. We continued our friendship and brotherhood when he left. We talk all the time.”
What started as a joke between the two playing with each other again turned into a move that was fueled by Clark, who put the word of Charlton coming to Kansas City into the higher-ups of the club.
“I sent a text, I was like: ‘Man, Taco Charlton would be a good addition to the locker room,’ and of course they sent a text back asking me questions and after that it’s out of my control,” Clark said. “I can say a player is this or a player is that, but after that it’s all up to our coaches.”
“Once I cleared (waivers), Frank was on the phone and we were talking. Nothing else really mattered. Money-wise, nothing really mattered. I just wanted to play football and wanted to go to a good situation where I could play some good football and add myself to a good defense,” Charlton said.
Clark ensured Charlton would feel at home within the Chiefs organization, telling him over the phone “how great” head coach Andy Reid is, among other coaches.
“That’s all I really needed to hear. Once I got a chance myself to talk to him and talk to (defensive line coach Brendan) Daly, I was more comfortable with coming here. I’m excited to see what I can bring here to Kansas City,” Charlton said.
On a one-year minimum-salary deal, Charlton believes this is the time where he will thrive.
“God led me here,” Charlton said. “I feel like this is the best situation for me to succeed. That’s why I wanted to come here. When Frank brought the idea, I was excited, just up-and-at-it, that this was the place I wanted to be.”
Charlton has played in numerous defense systems in his time in the NFL.
When it comes to the Chiefs, he likes how players are able to mainly attack within defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s defensive scheme.
“They let them go and play football a lot of the time. At the end of the day, they let the pass rushers rush the passer. They send up blitzers. Whatever it is, it’s a fun, exciting attacking defense. Coach Spagnuolo does a lot of moving pieces around and creating mismatches,” Charlton said.
With his confidence set in stone, Charlton knows what’s at stake this season.
“It’s definitely a chance for a year to prove myself, and prove what I can still do on the field. I feel confident in my ability. I just feel like with the right scheme, I could definitely show the right talent,” Charlton said.