The Bears found the big, solid offensive tackle they were looking for.
General manager Ryan Pace traded up yet again, one day after trading up in the first round for Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. In Friday’s second round, Pace moved up to the 39th overall pick in a trade with the Carolina Panthers. The Bears used that 39th pick on Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins.
The Bears had been linked to offensive tackles throughout the draft process. They gave up the 52nd overall pick (second round), the 83rd overall pick (third round) and the 204th overall pick (sixth round) in exchange for the Panthers’ 39th overall pick (second round) and 151st overall pick (fifth round). The trade leaves the Bears with four picks on Saturday: one in the fifth round (the 151st pick) and three in the sixth (208th, 221st, 228th).
The team had a major need at the tackle position after releasing starting right tackle Bobby Massie earlier this offseason. Their offensive line was a mess for a large portion of the 2020 season, before it found its stride in December.
Many mock drafts across the NFL media landscape had Jenkins as a potential first-round pick. Pace and the Bears believed Jenkins was worthy of a first-round pick, which gave them all the more reason to move up when he started slipping into the second round.
“We just have confidence in our grades, in our process, the conclusions that we came to before you get in the heat of the moment on draft day,” Pace said. “We had talked about it this morning that if that situation occurred, along with a couple other situations, that would be one of the few situations where we’d want to go up, especially for that position.”
Addressing the tackle position was a priority for the Bears. The team hadn’t drafted a tackle this high since it selected Kyle Long in the first round in 2013. There was some debate at the time whether Long was a guard or a tackle and he ultimately spent much more time at guard.
Adding Jenkins gives the Bears a young, physical tackle who they could potentially slide into the starting lineup at right tackle right now.
“There’s plenty of left tackle tape, so we feel that he can play both tackle positions and we’ve just got to sort through that,” Pace said.
Shaw Local analyst Hub Arkush called Jenkins (6-foot-6, 317 pounds) the “big stud, mauling right tackle of your dreams.” Jenkins certainly brings a bit of nasty to the position.
“My edge to me is about being able to finish anybody in the dirt,” Jenkins said. “I don’t care who you are lining up against me, I don’t care what you earn against me, I don’t care who you are, I’m going to attack you.”
Jenkins grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and was a three-sport athlete in high school. He lost his mother to breast cancer when he was 6 years old and has a breast cancer ribbon tattoo’d on his arm. He shared an emotional moment with his dad, Brad Jenkins, when he was selected Friday night.
Despite raising two boys as a single dad, Brad Jenkins always made it to Teven’s games growing up, no matter what day of the week.
“The only thing I was thinking about was all the sacrifices he made all through his life because he was there to make me happy and he was there to make my brother happy,” Teven Jenkins said. “I was definitely glad he could be here in this moment.”
At Oklahoma State, Jenkins started 35 games over four seasons. The vast majority of his college experience came at right tackle. He has the height and size to be a tackle in the NFL, although his arms are slightly short for the position (33 1/2 inches).
While he’s more experienced at right tackle, Jenkins said he can play anywhere and has even practiced at center. Jenkins made it a point to practice at left tackle in case Oklahoma State’s left tackle ever went down with an injury.
Pace and the Bears believe Jenkins can play both tackle positions “with ease,” Pace said.
Some thought the Bears might take him with the 20th overall pick in the first round. Instead, Jenkins slid out of the first round.
He spent his Friday playing MLB The Show 21 on his Xbox to kill the time until round two kicked off. Jenkins said his agent had warned him there was a 50-50 chance he might slide into the second round.
“Now I have more people to prove wrong because I’m in the second round,” Jenkins said. “Coming to this beautiful city of Chicago, I’m just really excited and I’m just ready to get to work.”