With just four wins the past two seasons, Colorado doesn't have many top-echelon talents in this year's draft class. But David Bakhtiari is an underclassman who stood out on the offensive line for the Buffs and is regarded as one of the more versatile blockers in this draft.
“I've had guys tell me I'm suited for left tackle, and teams have even told me they'd like me to be an athletic center,” Bakhtiari said. “I'd just like to play, come Sunday. I just want to play, whether that's tackle, guard, center or extra tight end.”
Bakhtiari added that he's never taken a snap at center but does have experience playing guard. He has lined up at left tackle the past two seasons and, at 6-4 and 299 pounds, he was the lightest offensive lineman during the weigh-in portion of the combine.
Colorado has had an offensive lineman drafted each of the past two years (Nate Solder, Ryan Miller) and Bakhtiari hopes to extend that streak to the 2013 NFL Draft. He said he wants to stay at left tackle but that his ability to move around the offensive line will help at the next level.
“I feel like I can play any position.”
Illinois' Hugh Thornton embraces his wrestling background
Offensive linemen are expected to take on and fend off 300-pound rushers on each snap. And for Illinois' Hugh Thornton, his wrestling background has helped develop his physical ability on the football field.
“I think wrestling definitely has an influence on how I play,” Thornton said. “It's physical, it's one-on-one, it's domination, and it's why I play the offensive line.”
Thornton was a two-time Idaho state heavyweight wrestling champion as a sophomore and junior in high school. He moved to Oberlin, Ohio, for his senior season of football and also finished third in the state of Ohio in wrestling at heavyweight.
“I could have played defensive line in college, but at offensive line there is nothing like locking someone out. As hard as they want to get past you, they can't because you have good hips, good stability, good base. And all that stuff I learned in wrestling.”
Thornton, who is currently NFLDraftScout.com's No. 8 ranked guard and is projected to be a fifth-round pick, also is receiving advice for former teammate guard Jeff Allen, who was a second-round pick last year.
“He texted me this morning and told me to enjoy the process and if I have any questions just ask him,” Thornton said. “He's one of my best friends. And if I can get drafted in the second round I'd be happy as well.”
Measurements, measurements, measurements...
For several of the underclassmen and prospects who didn't participate in the all-star circuit, scouts are eager to discover their exact height, weight and other measurement numbers. While there weren't any substantial surprises from Day 1, there were several notable prospects who tipped the scale:
OFFENSIVE LINE (Height, weight, arm length)
Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina (6-2 1/8", 311, 33”)
Chance Warmack, Alabama (6-2, 317, 34 3/4")
Barrett Jones, Alabama (6-4 1/2", 306, 34 1/8”)
Chris Faulk, LSU (6-5 1/2", 331, 34 1/4")
Brennan Williams, North Carolina (6-5 5/8", 318, 34”)
Menelik Watson, Florida State (6-5 1/8", 310, 34”)
TIGHT END (Height, weight, arm length)
Tyler Eifert, Notre Dame (6-5 1/2", 250, 33 1/8”)
Zach Ertz, Stanford (6-5, 249, 31 3/4")
Gavin Escobar, San Diego State (6-5 7/8", 254, 33 5/8”)
Travis Kelce, Cincinnati (6-4 7/8", 255, 33 3/4")
Dion Sims, Michigan State (6-4 7/8", 262, 33 1/8”)
Jordan Reed, Florida (6-2 1/2", 236, 33”)