We all know that the Green Bay Packers’ offensive tackles are some of the best pass blockers in the NFL. Bryan Bulaga has had his injury issues over the years, but he has been a steady presence on the right side of Aaron Rodgers for years. As for David Bakhtiari, it simply remains silly that he hasn’t been named first-team All-Pro yet (though he does have a pair of second-team All-Pro honors under his belt).
Pro Football Focus ranks both players highly, with their rankings matching the eye test. Bakhtiari ranks first among left tackles in their rankings both overall and in pass blocking, while Bulaga is 13th in pass-blocking and 34th overall.
However, PFF’s subjective grading system leaves room for interpretation. That’s where ESPN comes in, as they have used NFL Next Gen Stats to come up with a new metric called Pass Block Win Rate. And based on the sum of the rates for the Packers’ tackles, ESPN ranks Bakhtiari and Bulaga as the second-best pass-blocking tandem in the entire NFL.
Both players finished week six with a 90 percent or better win rate, which puts them both in the top four tackles in the entire NFL this season. Bakhtiari’s rate comes in second overall at 92%, slotting in just behind the Rams’ Andrew Whitworth. Meanwhile, Bulaga’s 90% rate ties him for third — the Rams also have his match there in former Wisconsin Badger Rob Havenstein.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that the Rams’ tandem is the only group that ranks ahead of Bakhtiari and Bulaga. Furthermore, this should set up some interesting chess matches on Sunday between defensive coordinators Mike Pettine and Wade Phillips against these two elite sets of bookends. Pettine has been great at scheming pressure, particularly on third-and-long, while Phillips has been able to rely heavily on Aaron Donald on the interior to provide a rush. The pressure will be on the interior of the Packers’ offensive line to keep Donald and Ndamukong Suh at bay, since the team can rely on its exemplary tackles to make sure there is little to no pressure on Rodgers off the edge.