Earlier this year, the Chicago Bears moved up to select Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Jenkins was widely known as a first-round talent, but slid to the second for some reason. At the time, he felt like a luxury pick for the Bears, even though they gave up a lot to get him.
Now a few months post-draft, the Bears continue to wait before they can see their prized left tackle take the field. Jenkins has yet to practice with the Bears this offseason, and fans are beginning to get a little nervous.
While Jenkins has been sitting out all this time due to a back injury, apparently this is nothing new to the coaches and front office.
Teven Jenkins, the Bears 2nd-round pick (#39) overall, penciled in at LT, won’t practice today vs the Dolphins. 12th missed practice.
— Andrew Siciliano (@AndrewSiciliano) August 11, 2021
Teven Jenkins’ back injury is not a new injury, and the Chicago Bears coaches and front office have known about it for a while.
Nagy told the Mully and Haugh Show that the organization was “well aware” of Jenkins’ back issues coming out of college.
Hold up, what?
Not only did the Bears know about a nagging back injury, but they still traded a haul of picks to move up and draft Jenkins. That’s about as bold as you can get.
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Pace made the decision this offseason to move on from both starting tackles Charles Leno and Bobby Massie. It doesn’t matter whether or not they needed to be replaced. If Pace didn’t have a locked-and-loaded replacement plan for both of them, then he shouldn’t have cut them both.
Oh, and just take a moment to remember: the Bears cut Leno just three days after selecting Jenkins. They were that confident in their new starting left tackle.
Now, the Bears are stuck waiting around for Jenkins to recover from an ailing injury that’s been affecting him for several months. They could go into the season without Jenkins starting at left tackle, which would further prolong the debut of Justin Fields — if Nagy is being smart about it.
We’ve seen firsthand what can happen if a rookie quarterback is thrown to the wolves without proper protection. Just ask Joe Burrow. No Bears fan wants to see that happen to Fields. He needs to be protected if he’s ultimately going to be put out there as the starter. And what’s more important than protecting his blind side? Nothing.
Jenkins may end up fully recovering from this injury, which would be nothing short of fantastic. However, if this back injury continues to hamper his play or even his ability to practice, then Pace completely missed on this pick.
Of course, it’s a game of ‘what ifs’ at this point, because we don’t know how or when Jenkins will recover. If he’s able to, then Jenkins should be a solid left tackle in this league. He has the ability to finish. He’s got a mean streak, which you love to see from a young tackle. But, health is king. If he doesn’t have that, then he has nothing.
Here’s to hoping that Pace didn’t completely screw this one up.