Left Tackle David Bakhtiari in Elite Company

There are 69 days until the season opener, so let's take a look at the career of All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari.

We are officially 69 days away from the 2019 season opener, and what better way to celebrate that fact than with a special look at the career of Packers left tackle David Bakhtiari. 

While it’s hard to look at statistics for offensive linemen, Bakhtiari is truly the best in the business at what he does. A few weeks ago, Pro Football Focus released their top-50 list of best players for 2019, and Bakhtiari was the highest ranked offensive lineman on the list at No. 13.

Bakhtiari also received PFF’s 2018 Pass Blocker of the Year Award, due to his 93.6 pass blocking grade which ranked first among tackles. He only allowed 25 pressures on 737 pass-block snaps.

PFF’s Mike Renner said this about Bakhtiari:

“Bakhtiari is currently the gold standard for pass protection in the NFL. There are better run blockers and more impressive athletes playing tackle today, but no one is stingier in pass protection than the Packers left tackle.”

Another impressive highlight of Bakhtiari’s career is the fact that he’s earned All-Pro honors from The Associated Press in each of the last three seasons. He was voted second-team All-Pro in 2016 and 2017, and first-team All-Pro in 2018. This honor ranks him with Forrest Gregg as the only two offensive tackles in Packers history to earn AP All-Pro recognition in consecutive seasons. 

One of the best parts of Bakhtiari’s game is that he rarely makes mistakes. Per Pro Football Reference, Bakhtiari only had four penalties accepted against him in 2018, and only two in 2017 (both were for holding). 

At only 27-years-old, Bakhtiari’s current contract, despite having two years remaining on his deal, comes at a massive value for the Packers, considering the contracts that were signed by other tackles this past offseason. His contract does come with a potential out in 2020, which may be the time the Packers offer Bakhtiari a bigger contract.

With Aaron Rodgers signed through 2023 (age 39), it’s altogether possible that the Packers will restructure Bakhtiari’s contract to keep their All-Pro left tackle happy and in Green Bay for the tenure of the future Hall of Fame quarterback’s career. 

For some background context, let’s look at some of the other top-tier left tackles in the NFL. 

Andrew Whitworth, LT for the Los Angeles Rams, is a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time first-team All-Pro. In fact, he was AP’s first-team selection in 2017 when Bakhtiari earned second-team honors. 

In 2018, Whitworth at age 37 only had seven penalties accepted against him. Remember that Bakhtiari only had four that same year. 

Next, we’ll shift to one of the Packers’ 2019 opponents, Tyron Smith of the Dallas Cowboys. Smith is a six-time Pro Bowler and a two-time first-team All-Pro. He’s been a consistent force on the Dallas offensive line since 2011, although he’s only played in 13 games the last three seasons. 

Smith was the ninth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and Whitworth 55th overall in the second round of 2006. Bakhtiari has made a name for himself as one of Ted Thompson’s mid-round draft gems, as he was selected in the fourth round (109th overall) in 2013.  

At some point in time, all left tackles will find themselves compared to one of the greatest to ever play the position, former Wisconsin Badger and Cleveland Brown, Joe Thomas. 

Thomas is almost guaranteed to become a first-ballot Hall of Famer. He was the definition of an ironman for the Browns, starting in all 16 games from 2007-2016, before an injury sidelined him for the first time in 2017 and he only played seven games. That’s 167 consecutive starts. 

In 2016, Thomas only had two penalties accepted against him all season, and only one in 2017 before his injury. Thomas is a 10-time Pro Bowler and six-time first-team All-Pro. Thomas was the third overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, and he paid dividends for the Browns over an 11-year career. 

It’s possible that Bakhtiari will find himself on a similar trajectory as he cements himself as one of the best left tackles in the NFL. The Packers know what they have in No. 69, and his arrow is still pointing up heading into the 2019 season.

Despite the repeated Pro Bowl snubs, Bakhtiari keeps his focus on bigger goals, like Super Bowl rings. And having an All-Pro left tackle certainly makes it easier for any franchise to have Super Bowl aspirations. 

 

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Maggie Loney is a writer for Cheesehead TV, podcaster for the Pack-A-Day Podcast and Pack's What She Said, and hosts a weekly live show called Happy Hour through Game On Wisconsin. Find her on Twitter at @MaggieJLoney.

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Comments (18)

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Turophile's picture

June 28, 2019 at 05:10 am

He has certainly outplayed his chunky contract ($14m this year). He was the steal of the draft, being taken in round four. He has been largely healthy through his career.

Diamond.

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ricky's picture

June 28, 2019 at 07:35 am

Bakhtiari also played hurt for several games last season, which caused him to be less effective for a portion of the season. He was particularly susceptible to quick outside moves during that time. He knew what he needed to do, but his body wouldn't let him do what was necessary. In spite of that, he was still the best lineman on the team, bar none. He's going to be expensive to keep, but he could well be a standout for another six to eight years.

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Since'61's picture

June 28, 2019 at 08:57 am

Bak is literally the most important player on the team after Aaron Rodgers. I’m not sure that we even have anyone on the roster behind him that can do a competent job never mind play at Bak’s level.

Stay healthy Bak. Thanks, Since ‘61

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dobber's picture

June 28, 2019 at 09:15 am

If Bakhtiari gets hurt, the offense immediately becomes "roll right...".

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Since'61's picture

June 28, 2019 at 10:42 am

Absolutely! Another lucky cookie goes to Dobber. Thanks, Since ‘61

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dobber's picture

June 28, 2019 at 12:08 pm

I'm having a hard time getting my swimsuit body back...

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Since'61's picture

June 28, 2019 at 09:19 pm

There is always next summer Dobber. We can switch to unsweetened cookies but what's the point? Thanks, Since '61

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 28, 2019 at 03:24 pm

Brian Bulaga was drafted to be a LT and was going to play there, but once #69 took the starting job, he never gave it up. But Bulaga could certainly play LT effectively if they need him to, and Billy Turner was effective, if not topnotch, at RT for the Broncos last season.

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Lare's picture

June 28, 2019 at 08:58 am

Excellent player, and pretty good at chugging beer also.

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dobber's picture

June 28, 2019 at 09:15 am

Early in his career, Bakhtiari was susceptible to the power rush, but he's worked hard over the years to fix this part of his game. Blue-collar, takes his craft seriously, good locker room guy, good face for the team. Deserves to get paid.

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Turophile's picture

June 28, 2019 at 10:59 am

Even better, with all his talent he still seems like a fun guy.

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Johnblood27's picture

June 28, 2019 at 09:30 am

14 million a year isn't getting paid?

I cant even imagine filling out an entire 53 man roster if the pay for good players goes to over 20 million each.

There is just no way to win and keep good players in this NFL.

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Big_Mel_75's picture

June 28, 2019 at 10:36 am

It is all these teams who throw crap ton of money at average players. Look at the QB's who make tons and tons of money who are average and haven't won anything. Look at our division alone. We don't have another option unless we want to lose him but to pay him like the best that he is. GB does well though paying their guys so it doesn't hurt as bad as it could.

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4thand1's picture

June 28, 2019 at 09:35 am

The o-line has me as pumped as anything on this years team. The depth may turn out to be an issue, but if they stay healthy will only get better with each game. When you have one of the best LT's in the game it's a luxury any team would love to have. By today's NFL standards, Bak was and is one the biggest steals ever.

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WestCoastPackerBacker's picture

June 28, 2019 at 03:25 pm

The amazing thing about David is he left college early, b/c the program wasn't doing that well. And yet stepped in as a rookie and held his own. He's just gotten better each year since.

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Point-Packer's picture

June 30, 2019 at 11:38 am

Hell of a great beer whacker as well.

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Mark S's picture

June 30, 2019 at 02:05 pm

This guy is a 1st ballot hall of famer barring injury. He's a locker room star just as much as on the field. Pay him whatever it takes so he retires a Packer

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Mark S's picture

June 30, 2019 at 02:05 pm

This guy is a 1st ballot hall of famer barring injury. He's a locker room star just as much as on the field. Pay him whatever it takes so he retires a Packer

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