They might not be the same paths, and Kyle Long proved himself even more than Teven Jenkins did to start his career, but one can't help but see similarities in the aggressive maulers who have shifted positions along the offensive line to only find themselves constantly on the injury report. What do you think? Is it fair to compare these two seeing Long played nearly every game his first three years and found himself in multiple Pro Bowls? Probably not completely.
My take here isn't that Teven Jenkins is as good as Kyle Long was during his NFL career. However, I would argue if Jenkins were to remain healthy, there is a good chance he would get similar accolades to Long. Jenkins has proven himself to be one of the best interior linemen in the game. His inability to stay on the field prevents him from receiving the national attention needed to be voted into anything.
The main reasons for the comparison are obvious to me though. Both are seen as maulers with aggressive play styles and put their bodies on the line. Both are seen standing up for their teammates even after the whistle blows. Both had to shift positions along the offensive line. Both were often injured during their career.
Now, the hope for Teven Jenkins is to see his career take an almost opposite path to Long's. Jenkins started off not being able to stay healthy, whereas Long only missed one game in three years to start his career. Long established himself on a national level early in his career whereas Jenkins' inability to stay on the field has not allowed him to receive as high of praise. However, the hope for Jenkins — and possibly hope for the Chicago Bears too should he remain on the team beyond 2024 — is that he stays healthy going forward and takes his place among the truly elite.
One thing is certain, Ryan Poles needs a better backup plan at offensive guard than Cody Whitehair in 2024.