Teven Jenkins will be one of the top storylines when training camp begins on July 28th. Everybody was convinced the former 2nd round pick was a lock to start at tackle this year. His talent alone made that obvious. Then the new coaching staff demoted him to the second-team offense in OTAs, and he never returned to the starting lineup. Maybe this is only a message for Jenkins to start picking things up, but others aren’t so sure.
Even before the Oklahoma State standout arrived in the NFL, some experts wondered if his average arm length and foot speed might get him in trouble as a tackle. He didn’t play enough games last year due to his back surgery to get a definitive answer. Seeing him relegated to backup duty this fast leads one to speculate if Matt Eberflus and his staff see the same thing. That is why an undercurrent of belief is that Jenkins will move to guard before camp is over in August. Tom Thayer stated the possibility on Bears All Access. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune was even told as much right after the team drafted Jenkins.
“Some I talked to when the Bears drafted Jenkins last year thought he might be best playing inside. But I don’t think you put a rookie fifth-round pick at left tackle unless you believe he’s your best option at that position, no matter what else you have going on along the line. Questions at left tackle trump questions at right guard. Maybe Jones excels when pads going on next month.”
Teven Jenkins to guard might be best for everybody.
For one, the position would fit him well. His length and footspeed wouldn’t matter as much, given the lack of ground he’d have to cover. At the same time, his outstanding power and nastiness would be maximized. Then there is the Bears’ perspective. Right now, their situation at guard is questionable. Cody Whitehair has the left spot handled, but right guard is another story. Sam Mustipher looks like the current favorite to start after Dakota Dozier went down with a knee injury. Zach Thomas and Ja’Tyre Carter are rookies.
If Teven Jenkins moved inside, he would instantly be the most talented option they have for that spot. It might take an adjustment period before he’s comfortable. Guard is very different from tackle. However, it might be best for his career in the long run. Jenkins wouldn’t be the first college tackle to move inside to guard. Many have done so and gone on to great careers. Marshal Yanda was a tackle out of Iowa. Baltimore moved him inside to guard, and he went to eight Pro Bowls.
Provided Jenkins is willing to embrace such a move; it could be what ends up being best for everybody.