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

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    NEWSLETTERS

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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)

    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.