INDIANAPOLIS -- As former Colorado tackle David Bakhtiari stands on the doorstep to the NFL, he has a different perspective on the business of football.Not all the endings are happy.
"I know it's a business. I know how hard it is to get into the league and to stay in the league," Bakhtiari said. "I grew up knowing this. I grew up around it, but it's still my dream."
Bakhtiari's brother, Eric, is a linebacker who has been released from the NFL 14 times since completing his playing career at the University of San Diego in 2007. Eric Bakhtiari was released twice last season by the 49ers, who are coached by Jim Harbaugh, his coach at San Diego. This includes being cut in January just before San Francisco began its playoff run to the Super Bowl.
Still, after the Buffs went 1-11, David Bakhtiari elected to forego his final season in Boulder to plunge into the uncertain waters of the NFL draft. And he says he did it with his eyes wide open, knowing fully the challenges that would follow.
"(Eric) has been there through the whole process, through every little thing, through deciding whether to come out, everything at Colorado, including my game," Bakhtiari said. "And even now he's helping me train. It's hard to get cut when the team goes to the Super Bowl, but I've talked to him about all of it.
"A lot of guys don't know what to expect or how it is, or what coaches want. I feel like I know exactly what they want because he's shown me, told me all of the things he's been through."
Bakhtiari was a three-year starter at tackle for the Buffs, a season at right tackle when future first-round pick Nate Solder was at left tackle to go with two years at left tackle. He missed only one game in those three seasons -- against Oregon in '12 because of a knee sprain -- and has declared himself for one of the deepest drafts on the offensive line over the past two decades.
He is slightly undersized for the NFL's tastes at tackle. He measured 6-foot-4 and 299 pounds at the scouting combine. Some teams see him as a potential guard prospect as he moves into the pro game.
Bakhtiari also said because of the Buffs' recent struggles on the field -- 13-28 in his three seasons -- he felt like like an unknown to many teams during his four-day stint at the combine.
" I never went to a bowl game . I told every scout I went through so much adversity, but I was able to prosper in that adversity," Bakhtiari said. "I showed up week in, week out and played consistent ball. I think it spoke volumes about the kind of character I have. I was still out there making plays.
"A lot of teams were just trying to get to know me because I am a redshirt junior. They just kind of wanted to get some background on who David Bakhtiari is, how I played the game."
Bakhtiari said he believes his NFL position will be at left tackle, but that he is willing to move into any position an NFL team wants.
Bakhtiari showed some quickness with a 5.09 showing in the 40-yard dash -- 12th fastest among the offensive linemen at the combine. But several scouts say Bakhtiari needs more strength.
Bakhtiari's arm measured at 34 inches, shorter than many personnel executives want on an offensive tackle who has to battle edge rushers standing 6-4 or 6-5.
"I can play any position," Bakhtiari said. "I don't think the height is an issue. At the next level, you need to have the athleticism to play on the outside and I think I have athleticism to play on the outside and I have the leverage to play on the inside as well.
"I have guys tell me I'm suited for left tackle and I've had teams say even center. I tell them I would just love to play. I want to get on the field, left tackle, left guard, center, right guard, right tackle, extra tight end, whatever."
Bakhtiari said he went to visit Solder this past season -- for a December 16 game against the 49ers when his brother, Eric, played on special teams for San Francisco. That's when he started to think the NFL should be his next move.
His next test will be the Buffs' March 19 pro day.
"The biggest point I came up with was I felt I was mentally mature enough, I wanted to make this my career. I want to treat it like a full-time job, and I want to be surrounded by guys who also want this to be their job," Bahktiari said. "Someone told me if you go to the next level, you're going to be taking a grown man's job, steady income from somebody. I said yes, I understand and I was able to cope with it.
"I want the next step."