When Oklahoma State tackle Teven Jenkins was still on the board early in the second round of the draft Friday night, Bears general manager Ryan Pace knew exactly what he had to do.
The Bears had a first-round grade on Jenkins, who was the highest-rated player on their board when Pace traded the No. 52 pick to the Panthers for the No. 39 selection to take the 6-6, 320-pounder. The Bears also sent choices in the third (No. 83) and sixth rounds (No. 204) to Carolina and received a fifth-round (No. 151) pick in return.
"We had big grades on Teven Jenkins, and as we got to that area of the draft, we felt fortunate to be able to get up and get him," Pace said. "Best player on our board, a premier position … We get a talented player. It hits an important position for us, a valued position."
Pace also made the trade when he did because he sensed a run on offensive linemen was about to begin, and he was correct: eight offensive linemen were selected in a 17-pick span from Nos. 37-53.
Jenkins started games at left and right tackle the past three seasons at Oklahoma State, and the Bears are confident that he can play both positions in the NFL.
"Just describing the player, [he's] a powerful tackle," Pace said. "He can bend, he can play with leverage, he consistently moves guys out in the run game, which is awesome to see. Beyond that, he's got the athletic ability to get to the second level and block in space.
"In pass pro, a really good anchor, so he handles power really well. And then, of course, he plays with a lot of toughness and finish. We went into this draft looking for that trait, and he definitely has that trait, that toughness, that nasty style of play. We're excited about this addition."
Pace revealed that he and every member of his personnel staff had a first-round grade on Jenkins.
"It was just the consensus in our room," said the Bears general manager. "All of us were on the same page, and it's [due to] a combination of just the well-roundedness that he had, his size, his ability to get movement in the run game, he's sturdy in pass pro. We feel he can play both tackle spots with ease. Just the personality traits that he has. It was kind of the complete package of him that made us feel really good about him."
The Bears especially feel good about the tenacity and nasty demeanor that Jenkins brings to the field. During a Zoom call with reporters Friday night, Jenkins described his edge as "about being able to finish anybody in the dirt … I don't care who you are, I'm going to attack you."
"You just watch the finish that he plays with; it's awesome to see," Pace said. "That's something we want to continually add to our roster. And he does it on a regular basis … You can just feel that as soon as you talk to him, and it's genuine. Some guys talk that way, but they don't play that way. He definitely plays that way. It's pretty cool to see."
At Oklahoma State in 2019, Jenkins helped pave the way for running back Chuba Hubbard to lead the FBS in rushing with 2,094 yards and 21 touchdowns on 328 carries as part of a rushing attack that averaged 229.6 yards per game.
"The running lanes [Jenkins] opens up on a regular basis is real," Pace said. "And what I think is cool is sometimes you see these big linemen and they create movement at the point of attack on the line of scrimmage, but then they're limited in space. They might be stiff at the second level or they can't get downfield. Teven can do both. He can drive defensive linemen off the ball, then he can also chip, release to the second level and make a block in space on a linebacker, which is encouraging to see."
With the 39th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Bears select Oklahoma State OL Teven Jenkins.