David Bakhtiari to Packers: How Does OT Fit with Green Bay?
The Green Bay Packers continued to address their biggest needs when they selected Colorado offensive tackle David Bakhtiari with the 109th overall pick in the fourth round.
Eighty-three picks earlier, the Packers fixed an obvious hole at defensive end by taking UCLA's Datone Jones in the first round. At No. 61 overall, Alabama's Eddie Lacy filled the need for a game-changing running back.
Now, Bakhtiari should add depth at a position that has really hurt the Packers in previous years.
Here's how the former Colorado tackle fits in Green Bay.
Role: Early depth, down-the-road starter?
In 2013, the Packers return all five starters on the offensive line from the end of 2012 (Marshall Newhouse, T.J. Lang, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Josh Sitton, Don Barclay) and will welcome back right tackle Bryan Bulaga from a season-ending hip injury. There's also still hope that 2011 first-round pick Derek Sherrod will return and make a contribution.
But the offensive line—tackle, in particular—is still an area the Packers needed to address in this draft.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked an NFL-high 208 times since the start of the 2008 season, and it's been pass-blocking breakdowns that have really hurt the Packers against good teams over the last two seasons.
Newhouse, thrown into a difficult role when injuries struck in 2011, has steadily improved as a pass-blocker on the left side, but it's worth wondering if he's capable of protecting the blind side of a Super Bowl-winning offense.
Upgraded play at the position is a must for the Packers.
At the very least, Bakhtiari can add immediate depth at tackle while also providing another moldable chess piece in Green Bay's attempts to eventually find a long-term answer on the left side.
His scouting report suggests a player who provides upside.
At 6'4" and 300 pounds, Bakhtiari is a well-built tackle who has the feet of a player who can play on the left side. He also provides impressive work ethic (referred to as a "gym rat," according to NFL.com) and shows a nasty side in finishing off blocks.
After a junior season in which Colorado finished just 1-11, Bakhtiari smartly decided to see how his three years of starting at left tackle would translate to the NFL. The Packers thought enough of him to make him their fourth-round pick.
The Packers can now let all their tackles—Bakhtiari, Newhouse, Sherrod, Barclay, Andrew Datko—battle during training camp and then find the best man for the job.
With so many players capable of winning the job, the Packers should be able to improve at the tackle position in 2013. Selecting Bakhtiari suggests a commitment from Green Bay to getting better up front.
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