Rookie David Bakhtiari is on the hot seat.
He faces the monumental task of protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side as a rookie left tackle against the vaunted San Francisco 49ers’ defense.
Is he up to the task?
“It can be overwhelming if you want it to be,” said Bakhtiari, who came out a year early from Colorado and was drafted in the fourth round by the Packers. “I take it more as an opportunity and I have one opportunity, I have to make the most of it. You can’t become complacent with what you’re given.”
Bakhtiari became the Packers’ starter at left tackle when Bryan Bulaga was lost for the season after he blew out his knee in the Family Night scrimmage in early August. Bakhtiari has made few mental mistakes in his starting role and has almost made the transition from college look easy.
“I wouldn’t say I made it look easy but I’ve worked really hard,” Bakhtiari said. “I give a lot of effort. That’s what I’ll continue to give to this team and Packer nation.”
One reason he doesn’t miss many assignments is that he’s a thinking man’s player.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a brainiac,” said Bakhtiari. “I do have a good idea of football.
“My biggest thing when I came in here, that I was preaching was, if I’m gonna play, (I have to) show the coaches they can count on me, I can be reliable. The biggest thing for being reliable is knowing what to do, know how to do it and do it at a high level. The first thing was knowing what to do, learning my playbook and minimizing my errors.”
When asked if he thought he would become an NFL starter as a rookie, Bakhtiari replied: “I didn’t leave school early to enter the draft to come and be a backup on the team. That’s not someone’s mentality. Whether it happens or not, that’s left up to the coaches…for me I came in here, wanted to compete and whatever opportunities were given I try and maximize them.”