Featured image on blog post about how the Packers have had elite left tackle play for almost 40 years. Pictures of Ken Ruettgers, Chad Clifton, and David Bakhtiari

Green Bay: Almost 40 years of Left Tackle Greats

I know people talk about the 30 plus years of continuous Hall of Fame quarterback play by the Packers, but what gets overlooked is how stellar their left tackles have been during this time. If the Packers were a college team they would be known as ‘Left Tackle U’. 

There are maybe 3 or 4 years where they didn’t have an elite left tackle – I’m looking at you John Michels and Marshall Newhouse. Hell, even Ross Verba made the All-Rookie Team along with Walter Jones.

So let’s take a step back start with a player who got his start long before Brett Favre ever put on a Packers jersey (or defrauded poor people of money that was allocated to helping them).

Ken Ruettgers

  • Drafted: 1985 – 1st round, pick 7
  • College: USC
  • Height: 6’6”
  • Weight: 295
  • Game Played: 156
A picture of Ken Ruettgers in a green Packers uniform

Even if we completely ignore the fact that his coiffed hair game was out of this galaxy, he was also elite on the field. He was responsible for protecting the blind side of quarterbacks like Jim Zorn (was left handed so technically wasn’t his blind side), Randy Wright, and Anhtony Dilweg – which I am sure was demoralizing for him. He did his job well while others in his predicament would have taken great joy in watching those scrubs get crushed. He played through a lot of injuries during his time. In his final year with the team, the Packers won Super Bowl XXXI, but he unfortunately missed the game due to injury. 

Chad Clifton

  • Drafted: 2000 – 2nd round, pick 44
  • College: Tennessee
  • Height: 6’5”
  • Weight: 320
  • Game Played: 165
"A picture of Chad Clifton in a white Packers uniform

The Packers stole Clifton in the second round while the Lions took Stockar McDougle with the 20th pick in the first round. Cliffy got his start at the beginning of the Mike Sherman years and was a starter on day one. He played in 165 games and would have played in many more if not for that cowardly hit from Warren Sapp – which made Mike Sherman want to fight Sapp. He came back the next year and only missed 6 games over the next 8 years. His last full year was 2010, the year the Packers won Super Bowl XLV.

David Bakhtiari

  • Drafted: 2000 – 4th round, pick 109
  • College: Colorado
  • Height: 6’4”
  • Weight: 310
  • Game Played: 130 (and counting)
A picture of David Bakhtiari in a green Packers uniform

The Packers drafted Derek Sherrod in 2011 as Cliffy’s heir apparent but a gruesome leg injury and lack of talent derailed his playing career. This meant we had a few years with the Marshall Newhouse experience with Bryan Bulaga holding down the right side. No one knows how many potential Super Bowls this cost the team but I am not one to be pessimistic. If those events hadn’t happened, we would have drafted David Bakhitiari. Like the others on this list, he has also played through many injuries. I can’t help thinking that his career will end like the other two: winning a Lombardi Trophy.

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