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Packers tackle David Bakhtiari appreciates the competition of facing Za’Darius Smith in practice

Za'Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari

Green Bay Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari typically has no trouble with pass-rushers. He is widely regarded as one of the league’s best offensive linemen, in both the run game and the pass. But the revamped Packer defense is giving him some trouble, particularly new signee Za’Darius Smith.

Bakhtiari was beaten twice in individual drills by Smith, according to Zach Kruse of the Packers Wire.  The former Colorado tackle showed respect to Smith after practice.

“It’s great. It’s a great opportunity for us both to get better, for both of us to grow… He’s a big guy. He’s slippery for how big he is. He’s good at working his edges.”

While it doesn’t sound like much, this is high praise from an elite player.

As for Smith, this is a great sign. The former Baltimore Raven was brought to the Packers on a four year, $66 million contract. Coming into camp, he was expected to be the team’s best pass rusher, and even though camp has just begun, it seems Smith is living up to the hype.

Coming off a season where he posted a career high nine-and-a-half sacks, Smith will have to continue this level of play throughout the season in order to help Green Bay field a successful defense.

Although Smith is the most important new part of the Packer defense, he has plenty of help around him. General manager Brian Gutekunst brought in edge rusher Preston Smith as well as drafting safety Darnell Savage.

Expectations for the Packers as a whole are sky high this year, with a special focus on Za’Darius Smith and the defense.