HART STARTING TO IMPRESS AS AN OFFENSIVE TACKLE
It’s tough enough being a free agent trying to latch on with a NFL team. It is even tougher if you are switching your position.
Taylor Hart, who was drafted as a defensive tackle by the Eagles in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Oregon, was running out of options to stay in the league.
He played sparingly in 2014 and 2015 under Chip Kelly. With Kelly gone, Hart was released on September 4, 2016.
On September 5, 2016, Hart was claimed off waivers by the 49ers. He was released on October 22, 2016.
On October 24, 2016, the Eagles claimed Hart off waivers and throughout the season, Hart took snaps at offensive tackle with the scout team. On January 18, 2017, the Eagles announced they officially moved him from defensive end to offensive tackle.
Since then he has gradually grasped the position, gained about 20 pounds and since he is already 6-foot-6, Hart also actually looks like an offensive tackle.
At his press conference just before the Birds preseason game against Miami, head coach Doug Pederson praised Hart and said he was a player on his radar screen for the rest of training camp.
The Eagles traded veteran tackles Allen Barbre and Matt Tobin this summer. The coach said the team wouldn’t have traded them if they weren’t happy with the guys they have in camp.
Hart said he wants to be part of that unit.
“Every week for me is huge,” Hart said at his locker recently. “The more reps I can get at tackle and the more I feel comfortable, the better it’s going to be…every week is big but this week is a big week as well. I just have to go out and do what the coaches are teaching me to do.”
Hart said he is not focused on any one area of his game.
“I don’t think anything specific,” Hart said. “I’m just trying to work as hard as I can. I just want to get the fundamentals down as an offensive lineman to show them (the coaches) I can play. I have to do that stuff not only on the practice field but in the game. That’s what I’ve got to do next.”
Hart chuckled when asked if he played high school football at Tualatin High School in Tualatin, Oregon, where he was a first team all-state selection on both offense and defense.
“I guess if you want to say that, yes,” Hart said. “I honestly have no idea what I did in high school on the offensive line. That was a long time ago.”
Like all players on the bubble to make a NFL roster, these last few weeks are excruciating. It is the side of the preseason most fans don’t see and don’t care about.
“For most guys, you’re fighting for your job,” Hart said. “You’re fighting for your livelihood. Not many people get this opportunity, so people want to take advantage of the opportunity and I plan on doing the same.”