The Chicago Bears made yet another splash move during the 2021 NFL Draft, when the team moved up in round two to draft OT Teven Jenkins. The former Oklahoma State Cowboy spent much of his college career playing right tackle but has experience playing every spot on the offensive line, including a handful of starts at left tackle.
Just days after drafting Jenkins, Chicago made the decision to release veteran Charles Leno Jr., leading to questions about whether or not Teven Jenkins would be the primary starter at LT for Chicago. As Chicago enters training camp later this month, it’s fair to expect Jenkins to get first-team reps at LT.
Questions will persist about whether or not Jenkins can really transition to playing left tackle. Right tackles are typically responsible for run blocking, compared to left tackles who are responsible for pass protection. With defensive lineman and edge rushers being bigger, faster, and stronger at the NFL level, Jenkins will need to learn quickly in order to fit in.
Rookies will always experience a learning curve in the NFL. Year one in the NFL is all about fitting in with veteran teammates, getting acclimated to the speed of the NFL game, and learning how to be a pro athlete, a much different lifestyle compared to college football.
For Jenkins’ transition to be smooth, he’ll need to rely on veteran players in order to have the opportunity to make an impact in year one.
â€œFor me, from listening to what they have to say, like from little things of take care of your body, getting to the weight room, get to the film room, they even help me on the field during certain sets, tells me if it wasnâ€™t good enough, go back and do it again,â€ Jenkins said via the Bears official YouTube Channel. â€œAnd just little things like that from them is going to make a long payoff for me as a player and I really appreciate them for doing that.â€
The skepticism regarding Jenkins fit at LT will continue to exist until the 39th overall pick shows that he can protect quarterback Justin Fields blindside for years to come.