Chicago Bears Draft: Teven Jenkins pick signals Ryan Pace finally gets it
By Ryan Heckman
As the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft opened, Chicago Bears fans were prepared to wait a little bit before hearing their pick announced.
General manager Ryan Pace had other plans.
The Bears wasted little time and moved up from No. 52 to No. 39 after a deal with the Carolina Panthers. Chicago then selected Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins — a guy who was constantly mocked to the Bears over the past couple of months.
However, Jenkins was being mocked in the first round. The Chicago Bears got him almost 20 picks later than he was being projected. That would be one heck of a draft story in and of itself, if they hadn’t already moved up to steal Justin Fields at pick 11.
Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace may finally be figuring things out.
It’s almost as if Pace predicted the future with this trade. Sure, the Bears gave up a lot to move up and get Jenkins. Chicago traded pick 52, plus their 2021 third (83) and a 2021 sixth (204). The Chicago Bears also received a fifth rounder in return. However, almost immediately after he made the trade, offensive tackles started coming off the board in a hurry.
The Bears started that flurry. It was Pace who made the first domino fall, and it was Pace who got the only Round 1 talent at the position.
Here’s the long-standing issue: the Bears had not taken an offensive tackle in the upper half of the draft since 2011 when they selected Gabe Carimi. Since then, it’s been a myriad of late-round picks and veteran signings filling in the gaps.
It is about time the Bears figured out the painfully obvious: drafting offensive tackles high up in the draft is not only smart, but it’s a necessity in today’s NFL. Offensive line has been an area that has not seen as many players ready to make the leap from college to the pros. It’s been that way for a few years now, putting a premium on the top-tier rookies.
Jenkins is a menace at the position, which the Bears have needed for a while now. They needed a guy with an edge up front, and they just got one. The 6-foot-6 tackle does a lot of things well, and most importantly, he’s incredibly smart. This is a player who will be around for a long time, and he’ll be protecting one of Chicago’s all-time prized possessions.
Fortunately, Fields is as mobile as they come at the quarterback position. But, the Bears still wanted a major upgrade on the line. Too many times over the past couple of years, we’ve seen the Bears tackles lost in the shuffle, resulting in the quarterback running for their life or getting pile-driven into the ground.
Pace is understanding what it takes to win in this league, and that there are no two more important positions in football than quarterback and offensive tackle. He’s done everything he can to address those positions at this point, and Chicago Bears fans should be thrilled about that.