The finalists for the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year in the NFL were announced on Wednesday and David Bakhtiari may have been snubbed. AP named Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Geno Smith as finalists for the award in 2022. Although all three finalists are deserving of the award for overcoming adversity, Packers’ left tackle David Bakhtiari may have been overlooked.
David Bakhtiari Compared to Other Candidates
Who should be named the 2022 AP Comeback Player of the Year?
— NFL (@NFL) January 25, 2023
Bakhtiari was not the only player who many would consider overlooked. Some individuals would argue that Chris Godwin’s comeback from a week 15 ACL tear is more impressive than any of the finalists. Brandon Graham is another name that could have been considered. However, Bakhtiari’s path back from injury alone could warrant status as a finalist.
Bakhtiari tore his ACL in December 2020 and has been on an uphill battle to find the field again. In 2021 he appeared in just one game, but in 2022 he finally made his return. He made his return in week three but still was not back to being 100 percent healthy. He missed four games after an appendectomy in 2022. However, he came back from that as well and finished off his strong season. According to PFF Bakhtiari did not allow a sack or a hit in 2022 in his eleven games.
Barkley and McCaffrey both played multiple games in 2021 before being injured. Both players came back in 2022 and had phenomenal seasons. Geno Smith’s finalist nod is a little different. Smith has had a long road to becoming a full-time starter like he was in 2022. He served behind Russell Wilson in 2021 and took center stage when Wilson was traded. Smith took Seattle to the playoffs after everyone expected them to have a terrible season.
Was Bakhtiari Snubbed?
While an argument can be made that Bakhtiari deserves to be a finalist he simply did not have the type of year the other three finalists had. While Bakhtiari’s path back onto the field was longer, and he was phenomenal when he did play, his missed games in 2022 ultimately kept him out of the running. Barkley, McCaffrey and Smith barely missed time in 2022. They were able to put their talent on display every week which Bakhtiari couldn’t due to the appendectomy.
Regardless of the award or not, the Packers were glad to have elite left tackle play back in 2022. Hopefully, in 2023 Bakhtiari will be able to start the season healthy and finish it without any hiccups.
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