16. David Bakhtiari (Ray’s pick)
When Bulaga went down in that practice scrimmage, the Packers didn’t hesitate … they moved Bakhtiari into the starting role immediately.
Much like the situation that occurred at the start of the 2014 season when center J.C. Tretter went down, thus clearing the way for Corey Linsley to establish a name for himself, Bakhtiari did the same in 2013.
And because Bakhtiari did such a commendable job of protecting Aaron Rodgers‘ blind side as a rookie, he claimed the position. When Bulaga came back healthy in 2014, there wasn’t any way he was going to be moved back to left tackle.
Instead, Bulaga went back to his former position on the right side and played all of 2014 at the position. By re-signing Bulaga last season season, the Packers guaranteed that those two tackles will remain bookends for at least through this season.
Since taking over as a starter, Bakhtiari has been the immovable mover at the left tackle position. He played in all 32 games those first two seasons, but went down with injury at the end of last year — a situation that hampered the Packers at the end of the year.
Should he stay healthy, Bakhtiari will be the Packers starting left tackle for as long as he is able to play and as long as the Packers can afford him. With the offensive line going under the scope of free agency next season, it will be difficult to keep all those linemen.
However, many like me, think that hanging on to Bakhtiari would be a good investment.
Though he is becoming known for penalties at the wrong time, that is about the only blight on his record. Bakhtiari has a mean streak and quickness that has helped him become one of the lesser-known, but productive tackles in the game.
Ted Thompson loves those mid-level draft choices … especially when picking offensive linemen. Bakhtiari was a fourth-rounder back in 2013 and is another of those gems who has been solid for the Green Bay Packers.
Next: No. 16 (Freddie's pick)