Now they hope for the same with another lineman drafted 109th overall in the 4th round this year: rookie offensive tackle David Bakhtiari.
"I think David is off to an excellent start," Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday after practice. "I think he's someone that is worthy of more reps and furthering the competition on the offensive line."
Bakhtiari is currently backing up Bryan Bulaga at left tackle and taking the 3rd string reps on the right side behind Marshall Newhouse and Don Barclay. Lately, he's opened a lot of eyes, especially in 1-on-1 drills.
"It does feel great," Bakhtiari said about being recognized for doing a good job. "But like I've been saying, I want to keep a level head. It's been I think what three days in pads? Yeah, I've had some bright shining moments, but I wouldn't say I'm perfect. In my honest opinion I've had some god-awful plays I'd like to take back."
Bakhtiari's brother Eric is a linebacker who's played with six NFL teams since 2008. Eric is friends with Packers OLB Clay Matthews, and through that David has also gotten to know and become friends with the guy who at times has been his practice foe. This offseason David joined his brother is working out with Matthews in California.
"If I can compete with him and at least know I'm working as hard as one of, if not the best pass-rushers that speaks volumes," Bakhtiari said of the workouts. "He's been shedding good knowledge about football and the game, what he likes to do in pass rush, which helps me out a lot."
The veteran also gave the rookie a lift to Green Bay before training camp via a private jet. That after Matthews let Bakhtiari hang out at his house during Packers offseason workouts so he wasn't stuck in a hotel by himself.
"I even told him I said I appreciate it," Bakhtiari said Wednesday when asked about Matthews' generosity. "You made the transition a lot easier coming in. I've never been to Wisconsin before this, never been to Green Bay."
It's been a smooth transition off the field, and now Bakhtiari is making a name for himself on the field as well.
"He's clearly one of the guys that has made a step in the padded work," added McCarthy Wednesday. "I'm very pleased what he's done so far."
"It's a good foundation to build upon," said Bakhtiari. "I've been doing good, but I got a ways to go."
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