The San Francisco 49ers claimed defensive lineman Taylor Hart off waivers on Monday, the team announced. Hart was released by the Philadelphia Eagles after being originally drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Hart registered 30 tackles in 14 games last season, including one start. He was inactive for the entirety of his rookie season, and never quite worked his way into a consistent playing role.
The 49ers are already deep on the defensive line in general, so the waiver claim is slightly surprising … if you didn’t know that Hart played collegiate football at Oregon, where Chip Kelly was his coach.
This season is Kelly’s first at the helm of the 49ers, and he has brought in multiple former Oregon players onto the roster. General manager Trent Baalke officially handles all roster and draft decisions, yet the 49ers spent a first-round pick on Oregon DE DeForest Buckner, who will join Arik Armstead, another Oregon defensive lineman, in the starting lineup this season.
Kelly also coached Hart the past two seasons with the Eagles. It’s going to be interesting to see how Hart progresses with the 49ers, as he should be returning to the position he played in college. He played 3-4 defensive end in college, but switched to 4-3 defensive tackle with the Eagles.
It’s possible that Hart is being brought in as insurance as both Glenn Dorsey and Quinton Dial are dealing with injuries and may not be ready for the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
While at Oregon, Hart compiled 173 tackles (22 for loss), 16 sacks, 11 pass deflections and five forced fumbles.