Michigan pro day notes: Taco Charlton improves 40 time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Taco Charlton was happier this time. After not running as good a time as he wanted to in the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, Charlton chose to run again Friday inside the Glick Field House at the University of Michigan.

He came away with a better time.

Charlton said he ran around “4.7 range, 4.80, 4.7 range, that was something that I definitely improved on and definitely wanted to do.” That’s much better than Charlton’s 4.92 run in Indianapolis. It should help the pass-rusher cement his place in the first round of April’s NFL draft.

He’s one of a couple of Michigan prospects -- potentially, 15 overall could be drafted -- who have a shot at being selected on the first night. And based on the interest in Charlton, that seems possible.

Charlton said he had dinner with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, leading into Friday’s Michigan pro day, and also had meetings with the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans. He also has visits set up with the Dallas Cowboys, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins.

“It’s going to be a busy next month for me,” Charlton said. “But like I said, it’s something I can enjoy, a process I enjoy and seeing a lot of cities I’ve never seen before.”

The 6-foot-6, 277-pound defensive end believes he’s one of the best -- if not the best -- pass-rushers in the draft and that he is a first-round pick. The No. 17 overall prospect by Scouts Inc., he said he played most of the season with a high ankle sprain. Charlton said he did not need to have surgery on the ankle, he has “no complications now” and he’s fully healthy -- including cutting on it in drills during pro day.

Peppers position

Jabrill Peppers has heard the questions -- that he might not have a true position in the NFL and that the slot he’s likely going to play, safety, is a place for which teams don’t have much to go on with him.

That, Peppers said, is a valid criticism. On Friday, he said, he did drills to show he could cover the deep middle of the field and can get to the fades and corners that receivers run. He did not do much linebacker work during pro day, focusing on safety.

But he gets the questions.

“Those are all fair questions because I don’t have much tape at safety at the end of the day,” Peppers said. “Some reasonings for me not being able to play safety are mind-blowing. I feel as though, if I’m a punt returner, I can track the ball. It’s just going up and getting it at the highest point instead of letting it fall into the breadbasket.

“The one-interception thing, that’s a fair question. Could have had maybe four, at most. One was due to bad positioning, didn’t get my head around fast. One I dropped against Northwestern, and [Jourdan Lewis] caught one the next play and took it to the house. And one I could have had against Utah, the first game back from injury, against the tight end. Didn’t get my head around, and it was a pass interference call. So it was about just relaxing, don’t panic when the ball’s in the air and just trust your technique. And technique is something I’m honing in on now.

“But those are all fair questions, man. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete. I’m a ballplayer. I only need to see something one time to be able to do it, and the rest is just trusting your technique and honing in on your skill. And I’m excited I get to work on my technique now.”

Peppers, the No. 43 player by Scout’s Inc., is still learning the safety position but is garnering a lot of interest as a potential first-round pick. He met with Tampa Bay on Friday and Arizona and New Orleans on Thursday. He said he has “at least 23” visits set up with teams, but couldn’t remember which ones off the top of his head.

Butt’s knee

Tight end Jake Butt said he doesn’t regret playing in December’s Orange Bowl, which ended for him when he tore his right ACL, requiring surgery and hurting his draft stock. Butt said he had heard potential first-round grades before the injury.

Now? He doesn’t know.

The good news for him is the Jan. 10 surgery went well and he said his knee feels strong. He’s hoping to start running in the next two weeks and would ideally be able to be ready for training camp this summer. That, though, is not a guarantee.

“Could be as early as six months, put us at July 10,” Butt said. “Could be as late as nine months. But the way I’m attacking it is I’m just going to be ready, whenever that time comes to be cleared. I’ll be ready.”

He will be heading to Indianapolis for a medical checkup next month and believes things will go well there. He met with New Orleans, the Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh and Tennessee before Friday’s Pro Day and will be at the Detroit Lions' local prospects workout in April.

All teams in attendance

Every team sent at least one representative to Michigan’s pro day -- not surprising, considering the plethora of prospects. The Lions had a large contingent, including general manager Bob Quinn, head coach Jim Caldwell, director of player personnel Kyle O’Brien, receivers coach Robert Prince and defensive line coach Kris Kocurek, who helped run some defensive line drills.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was in attendance, as were Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert and head coach Mike Tomlin, Tennessee head coach Mike Mularkey and New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, among many others spotted by myself and ESPN’s Jeff Darlington.

Other visits and things of note

Defensive tackle Chris Wormley had dinner with the Steelers on Thursday night, including with Colbert. He also said he’ll be visiting Baltimore and the Lions local pro day. ... Defensive lineman Ryan Glasgow said he’s met with the Saints, Ravens and New York Giants. He has the Philadelphia Eagles coming to Michigan for a workout on Monday and he’ll be at the Chicago Bears' local pro day. ... Receiver Jehu Chesson had dinner with Carolina Panthers receivers coach Lance Taylor. ... Cornerback Channing Stribling previously told ESPN he was meeting with the Saints the night before pro day and has a visit set up with Carolina in April. ... The only big-name Michigan prospect to not talk with the media on Friday was cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who was charged last week with one count of misdemeanor domestic violence.