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Five Things: Teair Tart

The Dolphins continued bolstering the defensive line with one of the biggest additions of the offseason in ex-Titans and Texans defensive tackle, Teair Tart.

Tart enters his fifth season as a pro. Here are five things to know about the new man in the middle:

1. A Disruptive Force

Defensive tackles have some of the toughest jobs in the game. A short runway impeded by 320-pound men, interior linemen have to find a way to deconstruct the world's best and bigger blockers, and they have to do it in the amount space found in a phone booth.

For Tart, that's where he excels. A quick first step combines with a sprawling wingspan and an arsenal of moves that allows him to put offensive linemen on skates. All of those skills are on display in the cut-up below:

2. The Task

Primarily a nose tackle (aligned head-up or off either shoulder of the offensive center), and doing so at 304 pounds, Tart finds wins with quickness and technique. He's capable of holding contain on the backside, but also has the tools to get over the top of a block that's designed to wall him off, and prevent him from chasing down ball carries on the front side of the formation.

Hand placement, grip strength and incredible instincts allows Tart to assume that role. Not only can he quickly take apart both run blockers and pass protectors alike, but he also has the functionality to play different positions across the line, a hallmark of what new Dolphins Defensive Coordinator Anthony Weaver has done in the past as a defensive line coach.

3. The Numbers

Tart is three snaps away from eclipsing 1,400 career snaps played in the NFL. The year with his highest season-total (520 in 2022) was also his best year. Tart collected 26 of his 43 career pressures and 23 of his 48 stops in that season. It was his first season with multiple sacks and saw him set career-bests in tackles (34) and quarterback hits (8).

Despite playing nearly 200 fewer snaps last season, Tart still found his way into the backfield with eight tackles for a loss. It's a small sample size, but the eight stops behind the line on just 190 snaps against the run was sixth among all defensive tackles on a percentage basis (4.2 percent).

Tart also has an interception, a fumble recovery and seven passes defensed in his career.

4. Another FIU Panther

The Florida International University campus is 16 miles from Hard Rock Stadium. Only 13 players in the history of the program made the leap from the Miami campus to the league. Though no player has ever made the short hop to Miami Gardens from FIU, the 2024 season provides opportunity for two former Panthers turned Fins.

Tart joins tight end Jonnu Smith as the 2024 FIU contingency with the Dolphins. Tart spent two seasons with the Panthers and led the team with 10.5 tackles for loss in 2019.

5. If you have talent, they'll find you…

…That's how the saying goes, anyway. For Tart, that talent was on display on a black top in West Philadelphia. He had to be recruited in that way because his high school didn't have a football program. One quick meeting with his new head football coach and Tart’s career was off to the races.

From there, it was a circuitous route to the NFL. Tart spent time at different community colleges before landing at FIU. Now, he hopes his career comes full circle with his fifth season playing for the Dolphins.

For more on Teair Tart, and the entire 2024 class of Dolphins free agents, download the Drive Time Podcast with Travis Wingfield.