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Cowboys' Potential Draft Pick: David Bakhtiari, OT, Colorado

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OT David Bakhtiari's Long Arms Offer Value

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BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 11: David Bakhtiari #59 of the Colorado Buffaloes looks on against of the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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Colorado offensive tackle David Bakhtiari is a highly-athletic player who will be downgraded because he’s only 6-4, 299 pounds. Actually, some teams have told Bakhtiari that they think he needs to play an interior line position.

Scouting Report

Even the greatest of NFL organizations seem to have a poor understanding of correlation and causation. Almost every team still regularly runs the ball too much because it’s correlated with winning, failing to understand that it’s actually hurting their chances of success. Teams often make the same sort of mistake in draft evaluations, searching for players who match a particular prototype, even if that prototype isn’t designed for NFL success.

One such trait that scouts seek in offensive tackles is height. Tall offensive tackles have performed well in the past, so it must be a smart move, right? Well, it turns out that height is only correlated with success for offensive tackles and not necessarily a cause of it. In reality, taller players typically have long arms, and tackles need long arms to fend off rushers.

Bakhtiari is a “short” offensive tackle, but he also has very long 34-inch arms. With such length, his height really shouldn’t be a concern; actually, it could help with leverage, especially in short-yardage situations. I’m certain Bakhtiari will fall too far because of a trait that won’t even hurt him in the NFL.

On tape, Bakhtiari shows quickness and good overall athleticism. He can get to the second level, and he uses his explosiveness to even play with power off of the line. Bakhtiari actually plays well in short-yardage situation because of his quickness and leverage, which might surprise some people at his size.

Bakhtiari plays intelligently; he understands angles and does an awesome job of using defenders’ momentum against them. He displayed a combination of athleticism and power that few linemen in this class can match.

NFL Comparison: D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Ferguson is taller than Bakhtiari, but again, height is an overrated trait for offensive tackles. Both Ferguson and Bakhtiari are very athletic, and I even think Bakhtiari can be more of a power player than Ferguson.

Projection

Bakhtiari figures to go in the second or third round. If teams view him as I do, there’s no way he’ll make it out of the second.

Fit In Dallas

Lots of teams will want to move Bakhtiari to guard, but I think that’s a mistake. He can and should play offensive tackle in the NFL, and I think he can play on either side. He’d be an excellent candidate to replace Doug Free.

Other Scouting Reports

Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU

Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri

Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas

Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC

Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU

Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State

Chance Warmack, G, Alabama

Dion Jordan, DE/OLB, Oregon

Jonathan Jenkins, DT, Georgia

D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama

Jarvis Jones, DE/OLB, Georgia

Barrett Jones, C, Alabama

Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC

Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia

Kevin Minter, LB, LSU

Larry Warford, G, Kentucky

Jonathan Cyprien, S, Florida International

Datone Jones, DT/DE, UCLA

Jesse Williams, DT, Alabama

Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford

Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee

Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State

Margus Hunt, DE, SMU

Menelik Watson, OT, Florida State

Corey Lemonier, DE, Auburn

Arthur Brown, LB, Kansas State

Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Kyle Long, G/T, Oregon

Bjoern Werner, DE, Florida State

Khaseem Greene, LB, Rutgers

Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse

Stansly Maponga, DE, TCU

Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee

Bacarri Rambo, S, Georgia

Justin Pugh, G, Syracuse

Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia

Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State

T.J. McDonald, S, USC

D.J. Swearinger, S, South Carolina

Travis Frederick, C, Wisconsin

JJ Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern

Brennan Williams, OT, UNC

Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor

Jonathan Bales is the founder of The DC Times. He writes for DallasCowboys.com and the New York Times. He's also the author of Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.

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