One answer that Bears second-round pick Teven Jenkins gave during a recent interview demonstrated just how eager he is to develop as an NFL rookie.
Asked last week on the final day of the offseason program whether he'd like training camp to start the next day, the tackle from Oklahoma State said: "It's just more work for me. That's exactly what I need, so I'd be happy with it because I just want to keep on perfecting my craft. So, I'd be 100 percent OK."
Another reason Jenkins is enthused about training camp is that after participating in non-contact OTA and minicamp practices this offseason, the physical 6-6, 320-pounder will be able to work out in pads for the first time as a pro.
"I'm actually very excited to put on pads," Jenkins said. "It's been however many months for me and I've been missing that sound, missing that feeling, and I'm very excited to get back out there."
Training camp, of course, doesn't begin until July 27, so Jenkins will have to wait. In the interim, the 23-year-old intends to spend his time off brushing up on the Bears offense so he can practice at full speed this summer.
"One big thing for me is knowing the playbook," Jenkins said. "For me, that is the biggest part of football for myself, so I'm not afraid of making any mistakes because I already know where to go, how to do things, whatever play's called so I can go and play 100 percent instead of questioning myself mid-play or before the play."
Jenkins began adjusting to the NFL game this spring in OTA and minicamp practices. It was a valuable opportunity that last year's rookies weren't afforded because offseason programs were conducted entirely on a virtual basis due to COVID-19.
The assimilation process for Jenkins included honing his skills, sharpening his fundamentals under the direction of offensive line coach Juan Castillo and watching and learning from veteran teammates.
"For me to get my feet wet, I'm trying my best to understand the pace of the game as we're going against the defense and understanding how fast the change is from college to NFL. For me, it's always about getting in there with coach Castillo and keep on working on my sets, working on my left and keep working on that until I'm getting more fluid and be comfortable in my stance."
“I’m actually very excited to put on pads … I’ve been missing that sound, missing that feeling, and I’m very excited to get back out there.” Bears rookie Teven Jenkins
One aspect of Jenkins' game that he doesn't have to work on is his attitude. He played with a nasty demeanor at Oklahoma State that no doubt will endear him to Bears fans. It's most evident in a video clip that went viral of Jenkins blocking a Texas defender completely off the field and into his own bench.
In a film breakdown, analyst Brett Kollmann compared Jenkins to long-time NFL tackle Bryan Bulaga "but with rabies," adding that the Bears rookie "packages all these skills and traits that are similar to Bryan Bulaga with one of the most inherently violent playing styles to come out of college in the last few years."
On the day Jenkins was drafted, he explained: "My edge to me is about being able to finish anybody in the dirt. I don't care who you are lining up against me, I don't care what you earn against me, I don't care who you are, I'm going to attack you.
"Basically, I want to impose my will against another man and use that force against him until he gets worn out and tired," Jenkins said at the time. "And I don't care how long it takes. I'm going to do that 24/7 and I'm going to do that all game."
Take a look at the 14 veteran free agents the Bears have signed in 2021 hitting the practice fields during the team's full-squad minicamp at Halas Hall.