One of the surprises for the 2014 Eagles was 6’9″ Brandon “Papa” Bair, the NFL’s oldest rookie at age 29. Part of that was his Mormon mission. Then he had actually made a couple of NFL rosters as a UDFA, either not getting off the practice squad or sitting on the bench without ever taking the field.
Bair played for Chip Kelly at Oregon (surprise!), where he was the mentor to one Taylor Hart, a younger DE. Then Philadelphia drafted Hart in the fifth round last year, and the two found themselves competing for the sixth DL slot on the Eagles’ roster. For most teams, you’d assume the draft pick wins, but Chip Kelly appears to be bringing another college boy trick — the redshirt year — to the NFL.
Hart was inactive for all 16 games, converting his baby fat into muscle in the weight room, while Bair made an immediate splash by blocking a field goal in his first preseason game. He ended up with a sack and a half, two blocked kicks and 17 tackles for the year.
The two remain friends, and Bair has continued to school the young’un. This year, it looks like the student has overtaken the teacher. Bair is inactive for tonight’s game, and Taylor Hart got his first NFL snap. As of the end of the third quarter, he had two solo tackles coming off the bench in a pass-heavy game. Then he drew a big holding call on Levitre at the start of the fourth, negating a 14 yard run into the red zone, which helped limit a likely touchdown drive to just a field goal.