Teven Jenkins was drafted 39th overall by the Chicago Bears in the 2021 NFL Draft. He was slated to be a first-round pick by many analysts but slid to the second round after other teams passed on him for their selections. He seemed like an immediate Bears offensive line that needed a glimmer of hope, especially after they had drafted Justin Fields, the then-presumed starting QB. Standing at 6’6” and weighing in around 320 pounds, Jenkins’s size, physicality, and ability to “pancake” defenders was highly looked upon.
Jenkins, who was expected to start Week 1 for the Bears, ended up missing the first portion of the season after undergoing surgery on his back. In his return against Green Bay, it wasn’t the prettiest as it was Jenkin’s “Welcome to the NFL” moment. Jenkins got beat on several pass rushes and needed to stand his ground more. After an offseason in 2022, Jenkins showed the Bears why he was drafted so high and why he deserves the starting role. In 576 offensive snaps, Jenkins only allowed 2 sacks and only committed 3 penalties. Now, in an offseason where the Bears have a lot to evaluate at almost every position, the offensive line will be one of those highly watched. Let’s be honest, although it was better than years prior, the Bears’ offensive line did not protect Fields as much as they should’ve. Let’s take a look into Teven Jenkins’ future with the Bears.
Jenkins’s Health & Skill
It’s highly unlikely that after the Bears spent a second-round draft pick on a young, mostly-durable lineman, he won’t play again. He’s going into his third year in his young NFL career so far, and he proved who he was in 2022. Jenkins established himself as an offensive lineman who is strong and relentless, but also injury-prone. Do you remember when Jenkins got hurt against the Eagles with a scary injury to his neck? Clearly, that was more of a freak accident, but he’s still had problems where he’s needed to sit out more than another offensive lineman. That should raise some concern about his longevity in the NFL.
Whether the Bears stick with their first-round pick or trade down, there is almost no doubt that the Bears will draft one, if not multiple linemen to help develop the offense to the next level. Plus, having the largest amount of cap space in the NFL, another lineman or two should be added through free agency. The point is, even after a solid outing in 2022 where Jenkins proved himself as a blocker, other talent coming in could influence his appearances on the field in 2023.
Even with the almost inevitable acquisition of some linemen to the Bears in the offseason, Jenkins is most likely to still play and start for the Bears in 2023. Sure, he will have to prove himself to the coaching staff and management to keep his spot on his roster past this point. There’s a lot of talent coming to the Bears’ offensive line in the offseason, but it’s safe to say Jenkins will be a part of the starting 5 based on his experience, scheme-fit, and youth.