First and foremost, the Green Bay Packers got themselves a heck of an athlete with the 109th pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. David Bakhtiari, a 3-year starter along the offensive line for the University of Colorado Buffaloes, spent the last few months working out with a group of linebackers in California. He was invited to the group by his older brother, Erik Bakhtiari, who has bounced around the league since 2007. Among the other players in the group? Clay Matthews. You have to wonder if that factored into the Packers decision to draft him.
He was recruited to CU by Dan Hawkins and redshirted his first year here. He was only about 245 lbs when he first arrived on campus having also been a lacrosse player in high school. After putting on more than 45 lbs, he locked up the RT job before the second game of his redshirt freshman season. He showed definite improvement as the season wore on. After the graduation of Nate Solder, Bakhtiari was moved from right to left tackle, and would spend the next two seasons starting there for the Buffs.
David is a high-character guy that is going to work hard to continue to get better, stronger and quicker. He definitely still has a way to go, but he knows that. He has quick feet, can kick-slide well and can get to guys at the 2nd level quickly. He has good flexibility which should help his versatility and a quick punch.
Where he needs to improve:
He needs to work on strengthening his base to be able to hold up to the size he'll be facing consistently in the NFL, especially if he's going to be looked at as a guard. He can also continue to get stronger so he can have a more violent punch. His recognition of certain twists and stunts needs work as well. Basically, he needs to adjust to the NFL and get into an NFL strength program.
Where does he fit in?
Green Bay uses a zone-blocking scheme, which is good for a nice athlete like Bakhtiari. There is a chance he could find himself competing for the starting left tackle spot there, but ideally he'll have a year or two to adjust to the NFL level of play while proving solid depth at both tackle spots, and eventually at the guard spots as well. His height, isn't great for a tackle, but his athleticism and good feet can make up for that, especially in a zone-blocking scheme. I instantly thought of TJ Lang when I heard GB picked Bakhtiari, because he reminds me of a lighter version of Lang when he was picked in 2009. And if you remember (I did not, but I noticed when I looked him up), Lang was also taken by the Packers with the 109th pick...weird.
In 2013, I wouldn't be too surprised to see Bakhtiari fighting for a starting tackle spot well into the preseason. He's solid and it sounds like the Packers are a bit unsettled at left tackle, with Bryan Bulaga being looked at if none of their guys can take over the spot. And that would then open up competition on the Right side. Bakhtiari could see time at either side. And if he doesn't win a spot, he's definitely a candidate to be the first guy off the bench on gameday as a swing-tackle. I wouldn't expect him to get that many reps at guard quite yet, but he could easily work there and provide depth if he doesn't snag one of the starting spots at tackle early. He has the potential to be in the NFL for a long time, though he probably won't ever be a candidate for Pro Bowls or All-Pro nods. He's not a spectacular talent, but he is a good athlete and possesses the intangibles and pedigree to make a nice career for himself.
Green Bay made a nice pick and David Bakhtiari lucked into a nice organization and situation. We have another Buffalo in a good situation that can represent the University of Colorado well and be used as an example for recruits.