Taco Charlton Has Message for Steelers Fans After Signing With Saints

Taco Charlton

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball as Taco Charlton of the Pittsburgh Steelers defends on November 21, 2021.

In need of an inexpensive edge rusher, the New Orleans Saints have signed former Dallas Cowboys first-round pick Taco Charlton. The news was first reported by Saints insider Nick Underhill, minutes after Charlton sent a tweet with the hashtag WHODAT.

The Saints Are Taco Charlton’s Fifth NFL Team

New Orleans went on to formally announce the signing via the team’s web site, noting that the Cowboys drafted Charlton No. 28 overall in 2017 out of the University of Michigan, where he had 18.5 career sacks, including 9.5 in his final collegiate campaign.

He spent most of the 2021 season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, signing to the team’s practice squad on September 21 of last year. In late October, Charlton was elevated to Pittsburgh’s active roster in the wake of an injury to Melvin Ingram III. He ultimately appeared in 11 games (with one start), contributing 18 tackles (seven solo), along with half a sack and a pair of quarterback hits.

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But the Steelers made no effort to bring him back for another season, effectively replacing him with former Philadelphia Eagles and Cleveland Browns linebacker Genard Avery, who signed a one-year contract as an unrestricted free agent.

Nevertheless, after announcing the news of his move to New Orleans, Charlton sent another tweet, this time addressed to Steelers fans: “(t)hank you for embracing me with love,” he wrote, a message that received countless positive replies from Pittsburgh fans who appreciated his modest, yet still noticeable contributions last season.

Taco Charlton a Bust in the Eyes of Cowboys Fans

It’s probably safe to say that Dallas Cowboys fans don’t have the same fuzzy feelings about Charlton. Two years ago, Bleacher Report named him the Cowboys’ worst first-round pick of the past decade.

It’s more than the fact that Charlton, 27, has had an underwhelming career, one that has included single-season stints with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. He also has the ignoble distinction of being drafted two spots before the Steelers selected fellow edge rusher T.J. Watt, who won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2021 and is on course for a Pro Football Hall of Fame career, having already amassed 294 tackles (216 solo), including 80 tackles for loss, 72 sacks, 150 quarterback hits, 22 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries, as per Pro Football Reference.

Meanwhile, Charlton enters his sixth NFL season having appeared in 55 games (with 13 starts). He has been credited with a total of 92 tackles (53 solo), including 12 tackles for loss, 11.5 sacks, 22 quarterback hits, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

In 2022, the Steelers will move forward with the aforementioned T.J. Watt and Genard Avery, plus former third-round pick Alex Highsmith and former MVFC Defensive Player of the Year Derrek Tuszka. The Steelers also have Delontae Scott signed to a one-year Reserve/Futures contract. Scott spent much of the 2021 season on Pittsburgh’s practice squad but got a chance to make his NFL debut last November when he was elevated for the game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

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