David Bakhtiari might have been named to the NFC’s initial Pro Bowl roster for the first time in his career, but that doesn’t mean the Green Bay Packers starting offensive tackle is a big fan of how the selection process works.
Bakhtiari called out the “flawed” Pro Bowl voting process when speaking with reporters on Thursday night in regards to Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith being left off the list. Smith was picked as a first alternate behind Shaquil Barrett, Chandler Jones and Khalil Mack when the rosters were unveiled Tuesday night and met with their usual criticism for perceived snubs.
Only Bakhtiari and quarterback Aaron Rodgers were picked from the Packers’ roster.
“It makes me unsettled,” Bakhtiari said via WBAY-TV 2 reporter Matt Hietpas. “The best player on our team didn’t even make the Pro Bowl this year. I think Za’Darius was the best player on this football team.”
Bakhtiari has a little prior experience with Pro Bowl snubs with the Packers veteran left tackle being named an All-Pro in three consecutive seasons, including a first-team nod last year, without drawing a selection from the Pro Bowl. He did make the Pro Bowl roster in 2016 as an injury replacement for Philadelphia Eagles offensive tackle Jason Peters, but it took him until his current seventh season to be voted a starter.
“For me personally, it’s unjust if I wouldn’t say that,” Bakhtiari continued. “He’s come in and been an unbelievable football player, and I know how it feels. I’ve been in that situation before and I just hope he gets the All-Pro recognition that he deserves.”
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Rodgers Also Weighs in on Snubs
Rodgers didn’t talk about himself personally when asked about this year’s Pro Bowl, but he did say he was happy for his fellow select on his first-ever initial selection to the roster. He also singled out a few other Packers he felt deserved to be recognized with a trip to Orlando.
“I’m very happy for Dave,” Rodgers said Thursday. “Obviously, he deserves it and it’s been kind of a joke where he makes All-Pro and doesn’t make the Pro Bowl. A lot of times it’s based on name recognition and guys get in a year after their deserving. I really felt like the way Mason’s played this year he would’ve got in. He’s just kicked so phenomenally, but there are a lot of talented guys. Obviously, our defense has a number of guys who play at a really high level.”
Crosby has managed to stay the NFC’s most accurate kicker this season — 16 makes on 17 tries — despite his attention being rightful split with his home life, where his wife battled cancer over the summer and his sister-in-law lost her life only a few weeks ago. He also hit a game-winning field goal during Week 6’s win over the Detroit Lions.
Rodgers also shined some light on defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who has been particularly active in the past few games with 3.5 sacks and pulled down Mitchell Trubisky twice during last week’s home win over the Chicago Bears. He finished the game with eight tackles, six of which were solo.
“The one guy that I feel like doesn’t get enough credit for his ability is Kenny Clark,” Rodgers said. “He is a difference-maker and he makes a ton of plays, one that you see that show up in the stat sheets and ones that don’t, and it’s been fun to watch him the last couple of weeks get some of those stat sheet fillers, but he’s been an important part of our team. Hopefully, the Pro Bowl not making it for some guys doesn’t bog them down too much because we’re all hoping to be a little busy.”