Oxnard -- Regardless of your football pedigree, stepping up to the game's highest level is hard, real hard.
Cowboys top pick Taco Charlton is finding that out.

"It's a big jump," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "And there are going to be some rough spots, but you've just got to fight through them."

Charlton is showing that fight. Since day one of his NFL introduction here in Oxnard, he's been forced to be a quick study.

"Day one I basically didn't keep my fight up under me," said Charlton, finding himself on the ground far too often early in camp. "I was kinda too ready to hit something so that I wasn't keeping my feet up under me."

That's just the physical side. Every bit as important to success in the NFL, understanding schemes and terminology.
Trying to do it against one of the league premier offensive lines makes it even more difficult.

"You have to be willing to get knocked around a little bit and have some adversity and lose, and get beat and keep coming back," said Garrett.

Add into the equation all the expectation, fanfare, and criticism that goes along with being this team's top pick, and the predictable by-product is frustration.

Charlton perhaps expressing as when he tweeted Sunday night, saying "don't believe everything said."

When asked what it meant, Charlton said, "nothing, I just lay out some wisdom. People take it how they take it."

From all appearances, Taco is taking it all in stride. Even when defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli calls him Tacquito.

Jul 24, 2017; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys rookie defensive end Taco Charlton (97) signs autographs during the opening day of training camp at River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

But there's nothing small about this guy, and as for the pressure of being the top pick?"I don't believe in pressure," said Charlton.

"Pressure is when you're [not] prepared for something, and you're not ready for something. I'm ready and I'm prepared."

He'll have plenty of opportunities to show it, as he continues his NFL education.