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Film Review: David Bakhtiari

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Film Review: David Bakhtiari

At age 26, David Bakhtiari is already one of the most distinguished offensive linemen in the NFL. He’s already been named to the All-Pro second team twice and has been named to one Pro-Bowl. This past season he was ranked the 91st best player in the NFL by his peers, the 30th best player by Pro Football Focus, and was Bleacher Reports top rated left tackle in their NFL 1000 list.

David Bakhtiari is the epitome of what an NFL left tackle should be in 2018. At 6’4”, 310 pounds, Bakhtiari possesses the quickness and agility to stick with the quicker speed rushers of the world, but maintains more than enough bulk to hold up at the point of attack against some of the NFL’s best bull rushers. The heavier, more powerful offensive tackles will struggle against the quickness of players like Vic Beasley, while the smaller, lighter tackles will struggle against the Cam Jordan and Calais Campbell type power rushers. Bakhtiari has the size, agility, and technique to frustrate all of them.

Furthermore, this is a passing league and Green Bay is obviously a pass-first team. Bakhtiari is more than sufficient in the run game, but his true strength is as a pass protector, protecting the blind side of the most valuable quarterback in the NFL. As you’ll see in many of the clips below, Bakhtiari is able to stymie even the best defensive linemen for long stretches of time, allowing Rodgers to work his magic both within, and outside of the pocket.

His ideal size and agility are certainly strengths for Bakhtiari, but what truly sets him apart is his technique. Bakhtiari is one of the most technically sounds offensive linemen in the NFL and he’s an absolute joy to watch in pass protection. We’ve been trained to watch the ball throughout the entirety of the game, but this season try and make it a focal point to watch number 69 in the trenches, especially on the extended pass plays. His craft has an artistic quality to it that is truly special. Here are some things to watch for:

Get Off

Bakhtiari is consistently one of the first players off the ball and his anticipation and quickness allow him to get in position and control the play before his opponent gains their momentum. His first step is as good as it gets and immediately puts him in a position to succeed.

Footwork

After his initial jump, Bakhtiari also has one of the best kick steps and slides that I’ve seen. He gets a very long and wide first step without leaving himself susceptible to counters or inside moves. Again, this is all about Bakhtiari putting himself in a position to succeed before he even makes contact with the opposing defender.

Hand placement

Once Bakhtiari is in optimal position, the real battle begins. The battle for leverage and hand placement is going to go a long way in determining the outcome of the play. If Bakhtiari can get his hands near/under the arm pit or inside near the chest he’s going to win the play. If his hands are in place he can anchor and control the defensive lineman, even getting their feet to stop from time to time. Once a lineman’s feet have stopped the play might as well be over; they aren’t getting to the quarterback.

Leverage

Leverage may seem like a simple enough concept but it can get quite complex. What I’m specifically talking about here is the ability to keep a low center of gravity and stay balanced, then finally striking the opponent to get them off balance and out of a position of power. If you win the leverage battle the defender simply can’t get the power or movement that they need to win the battle. This again is an aspect that Bakhtiari is a master of.

Recovery

Even the best of the best are going to get beat sometimes; it’s simply the nature of the game. But how an offensive lineman responds to getting beat is another challenge entirely. The way in which Bakhtiari is able to recover and stick with a play, even after being beat initially is truly impressive. There have been multiple occasions in which he’s been able to work his way back into the play and still block the pass rusher. Bakhtiari has a mix of athleticism, technique, and effort which is the perfect recipe for an All-Pro offensive tackle.

Finish

We hear it all the time, the best offensive lineman have just the right amount of nasty to them. Bakhtiari fits that description well. He’s not a nasty player but by no means is he afraid of mixing things up. He will finish through the whistle and if anyone takes things too far, Bakhtiari will be the first to stick up for his teammates.

Bakhtiari of course isn’t perfect. He will get caught by a bull rush or a speed rush every now and again (see below) but the consistency he plays with is remarkable. In the past two seasons he’s allowed a total of six sacks or about one sack every 4.5 games. He only had two penalties all of last year, both holding calls.

Making things even better is that Bakhtiari has become a leader on the team and Green Bay’s number one recruiter in the off-season. The progress he’s made from his rookie season until now has also been notable and it’s easy to see him continuously mastering his craft. If you have a chance, take your eye off the ball and watch the artwork of David Bakhtiari. You won’t be disappointed.

Lastly, I would be remiss to not bring up the one area in which Bakhtiari could improve upon the most in 2019. Unfortunately he does have a tendency to take plays off… in Madden.

A little more effort here would be nice, David.

__________________________

Andy is a graduate of UW-Oshkosh and owns & operates the Pack-A-Day Podcast. Andy has taken multiple courses in NFL scouting and appears weekly on 107.5 The Fan in Green Bay to breakdown film. This past season he was an analyst on Green Bay Nation on WFRV TV in Green Bay. Andy grew up in Green Bay and is a lifelong season ticket holder; follow him on Twitter at @sconniesports.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

4thand1's picture

Bahk is going to be a rich man.

Turophile's picture

Of the seven Packer players earning over $9m per annum, Bakhtiari's price point (ie cost against performance) is significantly higher than Cobb, CMIII (who both earn more), and I think above Nick Perry.

Davante Adams and Mike Daniels are closer, but only Aaron Rodgers is clearly (imo) at a higher price point - despite his $20m salary, and probably $30m+ soon.

In short he is a somewhat more vocal Chad Clifton.....and that is high praise indeed as I thought Clifton was a really good player. He may even have the edge (heh!) in both pass pro and run blocking, but it's close.

Nordom's picture

"He’s already been named to the All-Pro team twice (one first-team, one second team)"

Both of his All-Pros are second team.

Andy Herman's picture

Thanks. I misread Pro Football Reference. I’ll get it updated!

Bearmeat's picture

Man. TT really hit a home run with this pick in round 4. Gotta give credit where credit is due. We have one of the best LTs in the game. A nice pairing with our all pro QB. :)

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Watching Bakh (and Clark and Daniels last year) often is a rewarding thing to do. Love these articles - I'm going to go watch all the clips again.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

No disrespect intended because these are great articles, but off-topic:

A poll of agents ranked various things. Most and least prepared front offices: SF, Philly, NE, Denver, GB - least prepared Cincy, Cleveland (pre-Dorsey), WA, Chicago, Oakland.

Most Respected GM: Balt, NE, Seattle, Indy, Pit, LAR.
Least Trusted: Wash, Miami, Denver, Cincy owner.

Vrog's picture

Keep these Film Reviews coming.

jeremyjjbrown's picture

Nice Article!

James Campen has become a really good coach. His hands outside approach has been truly innovative in the NFL.

porupack's picture

Great article Andrew. Thanks.

I would like to think Baktiari's experience and technique rubs off on young Oline players in that room given all the time thety work together.

Good lesson in finding value in the mid rounds for OLine. GB has been top at getting low-hype talent there, and developing it, even though the law of percentages means there are misses of course. Ted played the percentages game, stockpiling picks, and got some excellent talent in mid rounds; maybe even did better than early rounds. Maybe he went overboard at times trading down too much, but Baktiari can be the poster guy for Ted's approach.
Kudos to Campen.
Can CHTV do a feature on Campen sometime? He deserves some featuring.

Handsback's picture

Bak has developed into a much better player than I thought he would. Guess I will never be a scout! In fact I thought Tretter would be the better player.

zoellner25's picture

He is our Joe Thomas.

Since '61's picture

The two key points here are that Bakh is one of the first off the ball and that his first step sets him up for success. These are the most important criteria for effective play at any of the OL positions. This takes time and practice. These are also the reasons why an entire OL becomes an elite NFL OL.

If you watch film of Lombardi's Packers you will notice that they all come off the snap together and their footwork is impeccable which is why they rarely missed their blocks. The current Packers had much more of this when they still had Sitton and Lang and a healthy Bulaga. Now we basically have Bakh and Linsley who come off the snap well and Linsley still has work to do with his footwork.

This season we're looking at the right side of the OL which may take a while to get in sync. The more they play the better they will become but again with limited practices (thanks CBA) it will take deeper into the season.

What has impressed me the most about Bakh is how he has cut down on his penalties. For his first 2-3 seasons he took too many holding penalties which killed some nice drives. But over the last few seasons he is rarely flagged and his pass-pro is obviously elite. A good pick by TT but an even better job by Campen coaching and a great job by Bakh to commit to excellence and make himself into one of the best LTs in the NFL. Thanks, Since '61

croatpackfan's picture

Since if David starts to play his 6 season, how he can be that he had 3 years (you sad 2-3) full of penalties than few (more than 2, I will say more than 3 years) years with less penalties...

I also remember how many of commentators here was disrespectful to young man, drafted at 4th round because:
1. he has short hands;
2. he is to slow;
3. he was not played well in college (!);
4. he was picked to early - there was much better players before him at the time and at the moment of his pick (no one of those 4th round picks are playing better than David today in NFL!);
5. he was picked by TT;
6. many many other reasons I can not even remember...

But I remember how many was screaming that Aaron will be injured because of David when Brian went down with knee injury...

David Bakhtiari is pure example how many of us do not know to recognize true talent when we see it. And that is why I tend to believe scouts more than any of commentators here...

Since '61's picture

Hi Croat - Bakh's Holding penalties by season.

2013 - 6
2014 - 6
2015 - 6
2016 - 3
2017 - 2.

He has done a nice job of cutting down on his holding penalties and other penalties in general. Check nflpenalties.com for a full review of Bakh's penalties by season. You will see that Bakh had much fewer penalties in 2016 and 2017 than in his previous seasons. I always liked Bakh for playing hard now he has refined his game and has become one of the best LTs in the league. Thanks, Since '61

PAPackerbacker's picture

Clearly one of the best offensive lineman in football today. Go! Pack! Go!

Oppy's picture

I'm wrong about guys all the time, but I was particularly wrong about #69.

Before his contract extension, I felt he was a decent LT, but I was also convinced at the time that Left Tackle was the single position the Packers could stand to upgrade (Sitton, Linsley/Tretter, Lang, Bulaga occupying the rest of the positions across the line), and I felt pretty strongly they SHOULD be looking for that upgrade.

Couldn't have been more wrong. D-Bak has been amazing, and is getting better.

Tundraboy's picture

Excellent work. Excellent player. Grand slam pick for sure.

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