To date, Seattle has acquired and then started (at least one game) the following players at offensive tackle (numbers are from their combine measurements):
Tyler Polumbus: 6’7½”, 300
Breno Giacomini: 6’7⅛, 303
Paul McQuistan: 6’6⅛”, 312
Russell Okung: 6’5¼”, 307
James Carpenter: 6’4⅜”, 321
Frank Omiyale: 6’4¼”, 310
Only two of these six players stand under 6’5″. Of those two, Carpenter weighed 321 pounds (and has since ballooned well about that number). Omiyale compensated for his height with 36″ arms and a slightly above median weight (based on the 2013 tackle group). Omiyale has only played one season here (as a backup) and remains a free agent.
I mention this because David Bakhtiari (pronounced Bock-T-are-E) impressed the heck out of me when I watched his compilation vs. USC (above), and yet he stands just 6’4¼” and weighed in at just 299 pounds, the lightest out of 30 tackles at the combine. If Seattle drafted him, he’d be tied for the shortest tackle acquired during the current Seahawks regime, and he’d also be the lightest.
It might be a bit much to label Bakhtiari a “mauler”, but he has excellent hand placement, lightning quick feet, superb leverage and plays with a very high motor. He may not “destroy” blockers, but he consistently moves them. I was stunned to see that he only ran a 5.1 in the 40 yard dash, as he’s one of the best tackles in this draft class at attacking the second level. His combination of traits would be ideal in a pure zone, with enough power to work in our power zone system. Despite weighing just 299 pounds, Bakhtiari managed 28 reps on the bench press. Only 4 out of 30 tackles posted better during the combine.
While Bakhtiari is short for the position, his 34″ arms are adequate for either tackle spot. While he doesn’t handle the bull rush quite as well as guys like Menelik Watson and Jordan Mills do, he handles pressure around the edge better. He played left tackle for Colorado and looks like a natural pass protector.
He’s well spoken and comes across as highly intelligent in this press conference from last September. Some scouting departments give this fairly significant weight as offensive line can require a lot of learning/quick thinking and by extension, intelligence. He displays maturity beyond his years and knows exactly what he’s signing up for by pursuing the NFL.
There aren’t a ton of 6’4″ starting tackles in the NFL, so invariably when you find a 6’4″ tackle prospect the automatic comparison is Jordan Gross of the Carolina Panthers, a two-time pro-bowler. Bakhtiari makes a stronger case than most, however.
Gross (at the 2003 combine) is on the left, Bakhtiari on the right:
Height: 6’4½” / 6’4¼”
Weight: 300 / 299
Arm Length: 33¼” / 34″
40 time: 5.05 / 5.10
Bench Press: 28 / 28
Gross didn’t just manage to play tackle in the NFL, he’s been a left tackle for ten NFL seasons, and was a major contributor to Carolina’s turnaround in the running game during that period.
A three year starter for Colorado, Bakhtiari declared as an underclassman, perhaps motivated by Colorado’s 1-11 season in 2012. He played left tackle the last two seasons. As a freshman, he played right tackle across from then left tackle Nate Solder. Bakhtiari never played inside, but given his size, quickness, work ethic and intelligence, it’s widely believed that he could transition inside. According to Bakhtiari, he’s been approached by teams asking him about playing guard or even center, despite his lack of experience playing those positions. That potential for versatility will definitely help his case with Seattle.
Jordan Gross was the 8th overall pick in the 2013 draft, but David Bakhtiari isn’t even listed on Tony Pauline’s top 160 or even ranked in NFLDraftScout’s database. I’d personally feel very comfortable giving Bakhtiari a 2nd round grade based on that compilation against USC, but he might not leave the board until the 5th or 6th round. He might offer a great value option should the Seahawks opt to address tackle later in the draft.