LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- As they search for ways to upgrade their lifeless pass-rush, the Bears turned their gaze to a former first-round pick in Taco Charlton.
The Bears signed the Michigan product off the New Orleans Saints' practice squad late Monday night. The move was made official Wednesday when the 28-year-old went through his first practice with the Bears on at Halas Hall.
Charlton is familiar with Bears head coach Matt Eberflus who was the linebackers coach for the Cowboys during Charlton's rookie season in Dallas.
In five-plus seasons in the NFL, Charlton has notched 11.5 sacks and 22 quarterback hits. He's excited to join a unit that he feels will let him do what he does best.
"I'm very happy to be back in that defense where I just get off the ball and just go," Charlton said Wednesday.
"I'm trying to make some plays, help this defense, help win some games," Charlton added. "That's really what I'm trying to do. Not really personal stuff, but really just help this team win, try to make some key plays to help this defense make some big turnovers and get us some Ws."
The Bears are Charlton's sixth team in five-plus seasons. But he doesn't see his nomadic early NFL life as a sign that he can't play. He has embraced each stop in his NFL journey and is looking forward to being a Bear, however long that lasts.
"Sometimes, it was my decision. Other times their decision," Charlton said about bouncing around the league. "That's why I don't hold on to it too much because sometimes I was the one to ask that I wanted to leave, that I wanted to go to some of these other places. Other places, it was the other way around. Like I said, every experience I had I take it as a learning experience. I take it on the chin, and I keep on rolling.
"Obviously, I don't lose the confidence in who I am as a player, so I still feel like I can definitely play well and make some great plays and play this game at a high level. So I'm excited to show that here in Chicago."
Charlton has been watching the league every Sunday and knows the state of the Bears' defense. He also knows how special quarterback Justin Fields has been over the last month. Another reason the move to Chicago excites the former first-round pick.
"He's a great player, great arm, great talent, can run the ball, most yards in the first five games or some crazy like that," Charlton said. "Naw, definitely a talented player and excited to play with him. and see what he can do in person so, hopefully I can get him the ball back and let him do more of what he does at a high level."
The Bears have struggled to pressure the quarterback all season. It has been even worse since the trade of Robert Quinn. In the three games since Quinn was sent to Philadelphia, the Bears have three sacks. Zero have come from members of the defensive line.
The hope is that Charlton can give the Bears' weary pass rush some life. Charlton is confident he will provide the boost that's desperately needed.
"Wherever you put me at I'll be good to go, especially on passing downs," Charlton said. "On passing downs I can rush anywhere. I can rush inside, outside, I can rush. I feel like that's one thing they brought me here for is to get to the quarterback and I feel like I can do that at a high level."