The Titans recently confirmed the signing of 14 un-drafted free agents, and former FIU defensive linemen Teair Tart is among them. Tart stands in at 6-foot-3, 290 pounds and compiled 32 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks in 2019.
Tart recently spoke with MCM about how he formed a relationship with the Titans throughout the pre-draft process, what he brings to the table, and which of his teammates he can’t wait to meet in person.
Before we get to the interview, here’s a statement from Tart’s agent, Viral Keshwala.
“Teair was one of top defensive tackles coming out of the 2020 NFL Draft thanks to his athleticism and quickness. His talent level is above the other defensive tackles that were selected before him and he will prove that by playing on Sundays this fall. I had teams fighting over Teair during the draft, but when Coach Mike Vrabel called me several times to have in-depth conversation about Teair’s future with the team, I knew the Titans were the perfect fit. After a pugilistic battle with Coach Vrabel, my team negotiated a great deal for Teair. We know that Coach Vrabel produces great football players on and off the field, and that was a big reason why we choose the Titans organization.”
JM: You came to FIU via the JUCO ranks. What was the learning curve like for you?
TT: It was quite difficult. It was a lot more organized and structured. It was a lot more demanding as well. I’ll be honest with you, I wound up facing an even steeper learning curve than I expected. Overall, it all came together for me eventually. I don’t have any complaints or regrets.
JM: I always feel like a kid coming from JUCO is in for a bit of a surprise once they transfer to the D-I level.
TT: Yeah, exactly. There’s a lot more structure at the D-I level. You definitely feel like you’re playing with the big boys now. It’s like going from the amateurs to the pros. That’s a little ironic, because we’re still amateurs at D-I, but you get the point (laughs). You have to manage your time well. You have to be an organized person. It’s all about preparation.
JM: That’s the truth. What was draft weekend like for you?
TT: It was a wave of emotions. As you know, I didn’t get drafted. I wound up signing with the Tennessee Titans as an un-drafted free agent. I had a chance to get drafted but that’s not what happened. Overall, I’m very happy with how things played out. I have an opportunity to continue playing football at a high level. That’s all that matters to me. I’m very thankful to the Titans for the opportunity. We’ll see how I fare against the best competition in the world (laughs). That’s the name of the game.
UDFA's I like/think could make a roster:— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 27, 2020
Ravens: QB Tyler Huntley
Titans: DT Teair Tart
Broncos: CB Essang Bassey
Chiefs: CB Lavert HIll
Lions: TE Hunter Bryant
Falcons: TE Jared Pinkney
Saints: LB Joe Bachie
Bucs: CB Parnell Motley
Rams: WR Easop Winston
JM: How did the opportunity with the Titans come about?
TT: I had a few conversations with their coaching staff. They were in constant contact with my agent as well. I spoke with several teams prior to the draft, but the presence of the Titans was always consistent. I knew they were interested. They didn’t hide their interest, and I appreciated that. Tennessee was the best fit for me. That’s the short version of it.
JM: Which members of the Titans coaching staff were you in contact with?
TT: I spoke with head coach Mike Vrabel a few times. I also spoke with their defensive line coach, Terrell Williams. Their general manager [Jon Robinson] hopped on a few of the phone calls as well. I had some great discussions with all three of those guys. We had a few FaceTime sessions. It was great.
JM: You spoke with several teams and had other offers on the table. You said that Tennessee was the best fit for you. Why did you feel that way?
TT: I just felt like it was the best fit for me. They were the team that invested the most time into me. I really appreciated that. I could feel their interest in our meetings. It just felt genuine to me. They really recruited me. The coaching staff seems great. I feel like they’re going to give me a real opportunity to make this team. I’m excited to be a Tennessee Titan.
JM: I love that. What’s your favorite part about playing on the D-line?
TT: I love the physical aspect of it. I’m a fan of the aggression. There’s a thrill that comes with getting a sack or a TFL. I love the physical play that comes with it.
Teair Tart from FIU led his team in tackles for loss with 10.5 for the year and he had 1.5 sacks. Athletic skills pop as the 6’2” 290 pounder can dunk a basketball, but scouts are concerned about his off and on motor. He’s been nothing but on all week at the @NFLPABowl pic.twitter.com/CQnjKuBwaH— Bears Barroom (@BearsBarroom) January 19, 2020
JM: Who are some of the best offensive linemen that you’ve gone up against?
TT: There was this guard at my school, Jordan Budwig. He didn’t give up a single sack in the four years that he played at FIU. He’s really good. He’s probably the most talented guard I’ve ever gone up against.
JM: That’s great. As a defensive linemen, do you prefer rushing the passer or stuffing the run?
TT: I enjoy both. I don’t think I can really choose between the two. I love getting to the quarterback. I love getting TFLs as well (laughs). They go hand in hand.
@FIUFootball DL Teair Tart is a nice #UDFA addition for the #Titans. He was an elite run defender last season, leading the nation in ATD+ with an off the charts 197 per @SportsInfo_SIS pic.twitter.com/HtTpLDSIwD— John Shirley (@JshirleyAK) April 26, 2020
JM: How would you describe your pass rush arsenal?
TT: I’m a bull rush guy. I’m a powerful player. I have a splash of finesse to my game as well. That’s how I would describe it. I’m a power guy with a little finesse.
JM: Is there one teammate that you can’t wait to meet in person or practice against?
TT: Yeah, Jeffrey Simmons definitely comes to mind. He seems like a very interesting guy to me. He has a great personality. He’s an extremely funny guy but he has a ton of knowledge when it comes to the game of football. He’s definitely somebody that I want to learn from.
JM: That’s a great choice. You’re having all of these virtual team meetings. How is that process going for you? I imagine it’s a bit of an adjustment.
TT: It’s been a fun process. It’s extremely organized. All of the calls and meetings have been very beneficial for a young player such as myself. I’m just trying to get ahead of the learning curve. It’s been quite neat.
DI Teair Tart, FIU— PFF TEN Titans (@PFF_Titans) April 26, 2020
Hasn’t played more than 380 snaps in a season, though he has produced well with 85.0+ overall grades each of the past 2 years
12.9% pass-rush win rate since 2018, 30th among DIs min 300 snaps #Titanup
JM: I’ve appreciated your time today, Teair. What are your goals and aspirations like over these next few months?
TT: I just want to help the team win games. I want be a contributor, somebody they can rely on. I’m gonna play hard. I wanna get out there and make plays. Whatever happens, I’ll let God handle the rest.