I'll start off by qualifying this article: my opinion on Bakhtiari is not complete. Apparently, tape from Colorado football games is the game film unicorn and I was only able to look at four games. That said, here's what we have.
As a pass protector, Bakhtiari's primary strengths are his athleticism and quick footwork. Bakhtiari has a very quick initial step when kick sliding and moves his feet deftly while maintaining a wide base and staying low to keep defenders in front of him while maintaining balance and leverage. Bakhtiari is also good at quickly reacting to inside moves and head fakes to mirror his opponents. Bakhtiari did seem to have a problem with his feet dying after first contact, but this problem appeared much more serious in 2011 film than 2012 film, suggesting that he can correct this tendency over time. In 2011 film, Bakhtiari appeared to have poor punching and hand placement skills and would often get defeated by exterior pass rushes when they managed to knock his hands away. In 2012 film, Bakhtiari seems to have rectified this problem to a degree, showing much more vicious punches and an ability to relocate his hands on the defender when they attempted to knock them away. Even in 2012 film, Bakhtiari's hand placement was sometimes poor, with Bakhtiari placing them on the outside of the defender's shoulders instead of the inside, reducing his control of the lineman and increasing the chance of holding penalties. Bakhtiari seemed vulnerable to bull rushes and counter power moves such as inside tosses, but again, this problem isn't as pronounced in 2012 film as it is in 2011 film as he appeared to play a bit lower and with better strength in the later. Bakhtiari appears to have issues with stunts, sometimes getting crossed up with his guard resulting in a rusher coming free.
Run blocking is a major strength of Bakhtiari's. He fires out low and explosively, latching onto opponents and rarely allowing them to disengage. Bahktiari is often able to drive his opponent clear of the line of scrimmage,, particularly in 2012 film, and when he can't he is usually able to turn the defender to shield the run lane. Bakhtiari did appear to sometimes narrow his base when driving back defensive lineman and it sometimes led to them shedding him. I didn't really see enough instances of double teaming to come to a satisfactory opinion, but it appeared that Bakhtiari has good hand placement and got hip to hip with his guard in order to avoid the defender splitting. When Bakhtiari was uncovered or moving to the second level on combo blocks, he was generally good at locating and taking the proper angle to the defender, though he had the occasional bad angle here or there. Once Bakhtiari latched onto opponents at the second level he generally drove them away from the play and almost never allowed defenders to shed him.
What does this mean for the Packers?
Overall, Bakhtiari is a good run blocker and adequate pass protector with great athleticism and feet. The wonderful thing about Bakhtiari is that he appears to be improving at a tremendous rate, suggesting great work ethic and an understanding of the mechanics behind offensive line play. Though Bakhtiari is somewhat short for a left tackle, he has the reach and feet to play the position and although his technique hasn't quite caught up, he has the athleticism to play there as well. Bakhtiari also has the explosiveness and strength to play inside as a guard or center. So where does that leave Bakhtiari on the Packers? I don't think Bakhtiari is ready to start anywhere on the line but he has the athleticism to play almost any position in a zone blocking scheme; so for now I think the coaching staff will have him learn multiple positions and use him as the sixth man on the line. In the future, I think Bakhtiari could improve drastically and compete for multiple starting line positions including left tackle, left guard, center and right tackle depending on how injuries shake out. As such, this was a fantastic value pick for Thompson in the fourth round.
Check out all of Acme Packing Company's draft coverage: 2013 NFL Draft Central | Green Bay Selects Datone Jones in First Round | Green Bay Drafts Eddie Lacy in Second Round | Complete List of Packers' Draft Picks| Packers Undrafted Free Agent Tracker
Keep an eye on the news about quarterback Aaron Rodgers' new contract extension
Not a member? Join Acme Packing Company and start commenting | Follow @AcmePackingCo on Twitter | Like Acme Packing Company on Facebook | Subscribe to our RSS feed