Former Michigan defensive lineman Taco Charlton is among the top pass rushers who will be available in the upcoming NFL draft, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who continues to gush about how Charlton’s stock has soared.
Kiper, speaking on an ESPN conference call Thursday, has Charlton at No. 19 to Tampa Bay in his first mock draft, and former Wolverine Jabrill Peppers is in at No. 16 to Baltimore.
Cleveland picks first and 12th in the first round, and Charlton could jump even higher to No. 12 if the Browns opt not to take Myles Garrett No. 1.
“The way he played when he came back after missing those couple games, he was remarkable,” Kiper said, referring to Charlton’s ankle injury in the first half of the season opener that sidelined him the next two games. “He finished strong as well against Florida State (in the Orange Bowl). Taco Charlton, I have him at No. 19, (but) he could very easily go a little earlier than that. Maybe in the 7-12, 7-15 area.”
In the regular-season finale against Ohio State, Charlton was a dominant defensive player with nine tackles, including three tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. In the Orange Bowl he again was a major defensive presence with five tackles, including two tackles for loss, one sack and two quarterback hurries.
Peppers, as Kiper has said several times, has “a lot of ability” and will have to fit the right defense because of his versatility.
He believes cornerback Jourdan Lewis is an early to mid-second round pick, and Kiper said that while his height – listed at 5-11 – might be a factor, he has proven he can cover and has very good technique.
Defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow could go late Day 2 or early Day 3 of the draft.
“He was the guy who really jumped out me all year,” Kiper said of Glasgow. “In every game he made an impact and he was consistent.”