Our pre-draft series continues with a look at a college prospect with a familiar last name to 49ers fans.
The younger brother of former 49ers linebacker Eric Bakhtiari is considered to be one of the top offensive tackles in the 2013 NFL Draft.
David Bakhtiari, a 6-foot-4, 299-pound tackle out of Colorado, is expected to be a third-round selection according to CBS Sports. He's also a local talent from Burlingame.
The younger Bakhtiari left Boulder after a 1-11 junior season, but did so with good intentions. He felt ready for NFL football. The athletic offensive tackle also posted impressive numbers at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine (5.02, 40-yard dash and 28 reps on the 225-pound bench press).
The Colorado lineman’s athletic gifts are impressive and also a result from brotherly support. The elder Bakhtiari who was released by the 49ers last season remains unsigned, but the thought of competing against one another has not been ignored by the close-knit brothers.
“We don’t know who would be better, we’ve always kind of talked about it, I say I’d beat you on this and he says no I’d beat you on that,” David said at the combine. “At the end of the day we’re just going to have to put on the pads and do it one way or the other. We want it to happen really bad, but then again we don’t.”
Eric Bakhtiari was instrumental in his younger brother’s decision to leave school early. He’s also helped with David's pre-draft training.
David, seven years younger than Eric, respects his brother’s path in the NFL and has learned from it.
The younger Bakhtiari has also grown from his challenging experiences at Colorado. A 1-win season would be tough on anyone, but Bakhtiari found ways to stand out on game tape. That’s why he’s considered to be one of the top tackles in the upcoming draft.
“I never went to a bowl game, but like I told every scout I went through so much adversity, but I was able to prosper in that adversity,” the second-team All-Pac-12 selection explained. “I showed up week in, week out and played consistent ball. Think it spoke volumes about the kind of character I have, even when the game was pretty much, I was still out there making plays. That’s definitely a good takeaway.’’
Bakhtiari, a redshirt junior, felt poised enough to leave school with one year of eligibility remaining.
“The biggest point I came up with was I felt I was mentally mature enough,” Bakhtiari said. “I wanted to make this my career, I want to treat it like a full-time job, and I want to be surrounded by guys who also want this to be their job. And I understand, someone told me if you go to the next level, you’re going to be taking a grown man’s job, steady income from somebody, and I said, ‘yes I understand,’ and I was able to cope with it.”
Bakhtiari is eager for any role he’ll receive in the NFL.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so I’m not going to close any doors,” the Colorado product said when asked if his dream was to play for the Denver Broncos. “I’ve got all 32 doors open.”
Bakhtiari lined up initially at right tackle as a redshirt freshman and played with a former first-round draft pick, Nate Solder. The two formed a bond when they played together and were able to reunite this past season when the 49ers played the New England Patriots on the road.
Bakhtiari moved over to left tackle to take Solder’s place and maintains that’s the position that he wants to stay at in the NFL.
“I can play any position,” Bakhtiari said. “I don’t think the height is an issue, at the next level you need to have the athleticism to play on the outside and I think I have athleticism to play on the outside and I have the leverage to play on the inside as well.”
Bakhtiari’s athletic play and long arms have him focused on playing tackle, but some teams have told him he could play at center.
The Colorado prospect has no problem with that position should he be selected to snap the football in the professional ranks.
“I tell them I would just love to play, I want to get on the field, left tackle, left guard, center, right guard, right tackle, extra tight end, whatever,” Bakhtiari said.