Steelers looking to add another former first-round edge rusher

Taco Charlton #94 of the Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Taco Charlton #94 of the Kansas City Chiefs. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

The Pittsburgh Steelers are meeting with Taco Charlton in hopes to add depth at edge rusher. Here’s what the former first-rounder could bring to the table. 

Despite the proactive moves they’ve made this offseason, the Steelers are running into a bit of a depth issue on defense. After failing to log a single practice with the team this summer, defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt was placed on injured reserve before the start of the season.

This was a big blow to one of the NFL’s top defenses from 2020. Now just two weeks into the 2021 campaign, starting nose tackle Tyson Alualu has fractured his foot and is likely to miss the remainder of the year.

Unfortunately, it’s not just the interior defensive line that has taken a hit. Pittsburgh’s best player was nicked up on Sunday against the Raiders. Two-time All-Pro and former Defensive Player of the Year candidate, T.J. Watt, suffered a groin injury in the first half of his Week 2 contest against the Las Vegas and did not return to the game.

Groin injuries tend to linger and the Steelers may choose to err on the side of caution. With this news, the team is apparently exploring options in free agency.

According to NFL Network reporter, Aditi Kinkhabwala, pass rusher Taco Charlton is in Pittsburgh on Tuesday, and the plan is for the Steelers to sign him:

The Steelers may be planning on holding Watt out for a few weeks and they are clearly looking to upgrade the depth behind Alex Highsmith and Melvin Ingram. What would this signing mean for Pittsburgh?

What does Taco Charlton offer the Steelers?

Taco Charlton has been an utter disappointment since entering the league, and he’s a player Dallas Cowboys fans would like to forget about. With T.J. Watt ripe for the picking in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Jerry Jones and his crew went with Charlton instead – which proved to be a colossal mistake.

Charlton lasted just two years in Dallas before playing with the Miami Dolphins in 2019. In just 5 starts (10 games), Charlton earned an impressive 5.0 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss, but it apparently wasn’t enough to keep him around long term.

Charlton played most recently with the Chiefs in 2020 where he suited up for 7 games and earned an additional 2.0 sacks in limited action.

Now it looks like the former first-round pick could be set to join the Steelers, but what does he offer.

Charlton is a big-bodied edge defender with long arms and impressive bend for a player his size. He has earned 11.0 sacks in his career so far despite being on three different teams, and he still offers some intrigue as a rotational pass rusher.

Jamir Jones earned a job on the roster over Cassius Marsh this year, but both are known for their special teams play. If he joins the Steelers, Charlton could first start on the practice squad before getting himself in shape and earning time in the defensive rotation.

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It will be interesting to see how the Steelers will handle the edge rotation if Charlton does indeed join the team. This is an interesting potential signing and one that deserves some attention to see where Pittsburgh is going with this.