The Chicago Bears demonstrated how much they liked Teven Jenkins last year when they traded up to get him in the 2nd round. Former GM Ryan Pace said the team had a 1st round grade on the Oklahoma State standout and couldn’t understand why he fell. The truth was they knew exactly why he fell, suffering from a back injury that went unreported during the pre-draft process. Matters weren’t made much better when Jenkins suffered a second back injury before training camp, resulting in surgery that cost him several months.
Not a great start. The rookie eventually made his debut and performed quite well, considering his inexperience and long injury layoff. After allowing seven pressures and two sacks in his first appearance, he allowed only four pressures over the remaining four weeks of the season. It was a welcome glimpse of what he can be in the NFL. The tricky part is figuring out where he stands in the new offense under coordinator Luke Getsy.
The first step in that quest already seems clear.
After spending all of his rookie year at left tackle, the new coaching staff has opted to shift Jenkins over to right tackle this offseason. That is the position he played for the majority of his college career. So it makes sense. Beyond that, there is optimism that Getsy’s new scheme can help take advantage of his biggest strengths as a blocker. Former lineman Chris Chester shared that stance, who explained to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic how great the wide zone system could be.
“It’s very friendly to the offensive line, the quarterbacks and for me. It suited my skill set,” said Chester, who began his college career as a tight end and played for Morgan in Washington. “I don’t know the roster there right now, but if you have guys who are athletes who can get in space, it’s a really good scheme.”
One of those players is right tackle Teven Jenkins, whom Chester trained at Exos.
“He’s a great example of a guy who can run and move and do some stuff,” Chester said. “You get to attack, you get to set tempo, and you get a lot of easy throws off play action and boots and all the run-action stuff you can create.”
When people talked about Jenkins before the draft, they always focused on his power and unrelenting nastiness in the run game. That made it easy to overlook how athletic he was too. His 5.01 in the 40-yard dash was the 9th-fastest of any offensive lineman at the scouting combine and he was one of the heaviest of that group at 317 lbs. He also had the 5th-best vertical jump (32.5 inches) and a shuttle time (4.66) that was better than Tristan Whirfs, Ronnie Stanley, and Taylor Decker.
Teven Jenkins has all the tools needed for a wide zone stud.
Being a run-first system, of course, power is something required. That isn’t a problem. However, what sets this one apart from others is how demanding it is of a lineman’s intelligence and athleticism. Jenkins never got enough credit for either of those traits in college, even though they were present. His technique was among the best in his class and he always showed an ability to move in space when asked.
The frustrating thing about last year is that Matt Nagy and his staff never did enough to take advantage of those strengths. He was more often content hammering the ball between the tackles or calling straight drop-backs in the passing game. Don’t expect that to continue with Getsy. There will be many stretches, pulls, bootlegs, and other plays that get Teven Jenkins on the move.
Linebackers and defensive backs better prepare themselves.
This is not a man they’ll want to see in the open field. More than anything, it is nice to hear he’ll be put in a better position to succeed as a player. That was something the Bears coaches promised when they took over. Another sign Matt Eberflus knew what he was doing when he took over.