Fool us once, shame on you.
Fool us twice, and we'll convert Taylor Hart to offensive tackle our damn selves.
The Eagles released an interesting little tidbit of news through their Ministry of Truth last week, noting that former defensive end Taylor Hart will convert to offensive tackle this season in a last-ditch attempt to milk some utility out of the fifth-round pick they spent on him in 2014.
Hart, a defensive end out of Oregon who was believed to be a Chip Kelly pick, played in just 14 games for the Eagles, all of them in 2015, when he logged 31 percent of the team's snaps. Hart ended up with his old boss after the Eagles waived him at the end of training camp, but appeared in just one game before the 49ers released him on Oct. 22.
What happened next was kind of interesting: The Eagles, who'd spent the offseason purging most of the players Kelly had added during his brief tenure as general manager, re-signed Hart to the active roster. Most assumed that the signing was a short-term fix for some temporary depth issues along the defensive line. Yet when the end of the season rolled around, you found yourself walking through the locker room at the NovaCare Complex and realizing that, sure as stuff, there was Taylor Hart, still a member of the team, despite having played in zero games.
Turns out, the Eagles had a plan in mind for Hart, who, per PhiladelphiaEagles.com, spent the end of the season taking snaps at offensive tackle for the scout team.
The move is particularly interesting when you consider that it comes after a season in which Jeffery Lurie and Howie Roseman could not sit on the loveseat and watch Thursday night football without being subjected to that USAA commercial in which Alejandro Villanueva reminds the nation that he went from an Army Ranger to the starting left tackle for the AFC Central-champion Pittsburgh Steelers.
While Villanueva does not mention the fact that, in between, he was in Eagles training camp as a defensive end, or that the Eagles might've had a shot at a playoff berth if they'd had a qualified tackle to step in while Lane Johnson was suspended, it stands to reason that Roseman and/or Lurie could fill in the blank.
But wait, there's more ...
Not only did the Steelers successfully convert Villanueva from defensive end to offensive tackle, they're attempting to do the same thing with another Eagles castoff: 2015 seventh-round pick Brian Mihalik, whom the Eagles released from their practice squad on Sept. 16.
Mihalik, who at 6-foot-9 and 302 pounds has always been built far more like an offensive tackle than a defensive lineman, was signed by the Steelers off the Lions' practice squad in mid-October and spent the rest of the season on the active roster. He did not play in a game, but the Steelers clearly think he has some potential as a pass-blocker, given their willingness to allow him to occupy a roster spot.
Within all this context, the Eagles' decision to try Hart out at offensive tackle before the Steelers get a chance to is both amusing and rational. Hell, might as well give every player a few reps there before you cut him.