The Eagles likely had their starting defensive line set, but needed to badly upgrade on depth prior to the draft. The team double-dipped on defensive line on Day 3 and added Oregon's Taylor Hart and Wisconsin's Beau Allen to the unit. Hart was brought in to develop as a backup lineman and eventually become a starter.
Hart's familiarity with defensive line coach Jerry Azzinaro and head coach Chip Kelly likely played a role in him being drafted by the Eagles. However, his play on tape and numbers from his college career shows a player that can produce at the next level and be a possible steal as a fifth round pick.
A Tualatin, Oregon native, Hart decided to stay local and committed to the Ducks in 2009. He redshirted as a freshman and was named a scout team defensive player-of-the-week once. In 2010, Hart played in 13 games and produced 18 tackles (two for loss) to along with two sacks. In 2011, Hart started all 14 games that he played in and collected 44 tackles (three for loss) along with two pass deflections and 2.5 sacks.
In his third year of play, Hart was named the Ducks Outstanding Defensive Lineman and had 36 tackles (11 for loss) as well as eight sacks. As a senior, Hart collected 75 tackles and three sacks. He was named to the All-Pac-12 second team after starting 12 of the 13 games that he appeared in during his final campaign in Oregon.
He was invited to and participated in the Reese's Senior Bowl.
Weight: 281 lbs.
Hands: 10 1/8"
Arm Length: 32 3/4"
Bench Press: 21 reps
Hart is a massive man. He is capable of taking on blockers and can take on double teams, which happened a lot during his college career. Hart has the length and height to be physically opposing but also uses those qualities very well. He does very well at pushing back the offensive line and has a ton of nastiness to his game. His motor, for the most part, stays fluent throughout games.
He is very good against the run and tackles with technique and violence. He uses his hands well and can shed blocks as a technician. While his speed and strength are not tremendous, he does a good job of keeping his opposition off-balance.
Hart has average balance and at times, struggles to stay leveled in his attack. While he produced sacks in college, he is not really a pass rusher. He is stiff when unoccupied by blockers and can be easily avoided by most passers with average pocket mobility. He doesn't have a ton of burst and is not quick or fast. He strikes an observer as an average athlete. He is long and big but will be probably need to get stronger (not add weight) to play five-technique at the next well.
Where He Fits
Chip Kelly has said that he would use Hart as the four-technique in the Eagles defense, but he could likely backup both Fletcher Cox and Cedric Thornton. It would makes sense to take Thornton off the field on third downs put Hart in against the pass. He could also be used in the middle when the Eagles decide to mix it up and show even fronts. Depending on his strength program this offseason, Hart could see some time at nose tackle.
*Keep in mind that the Ducks defense changed philosophies a bit this past season. Make sure to check out the ASU tape to get the whole picture.