Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy delivered some excellent news during his Monday morning presser, announcing that rookie offensive tackle Teven Jenkins returned to practice, opening his 21-day window to be activated from injured reserve. A second-round selection out of Oklahoma State, Jenkins was originally placed on injured reserve in early September after undergoing back surgery.
The news was welcomed with open arms by Bears fans that have been anxious to see their 39th overall selection in action. Expecting Jenkins back for Sunday’s showdown against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens may be an unrealistic target, as is the short week that follows it against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving weekend. Barring a setback, Jenkins could be in line to make his NFL debut against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 13.
Getting Jenkins healthy and into the lineup should be a priority for Nagy and his offensive staff. The Bears have given up a league-high 33 sacks through just nine contests, which is truly an astounding number. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields has been on the receiving end of the majority of those quarterback takedowns, including a season-high nine sacks suffered in a Week 3 blowout loss to the Cleveland Browns. Fields must take some responsibility as well, and needs to process in a more effective and efficient manner, but Chicago's offensive line needs to do a better job protecting the future of their franchise.
It's easy to understand why Chicago fell in love with Jenkins in the first place. Athletically, the Topeka, Kansas native impressed evaluators with an astonishing pre-draft workout that included a 32.5-inch broad jump and 36 reps on the bench press. On tape, Jenkins is a bruiser that plays through the whistle and seeks to embarrass his opponent. In the interview room, Jenkins possesses a colorful personality that impressed Chicago's brass in March and early April. In an exclusive interview with The Draft Network, Jenkins was quoted as saying, "My strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass told me that I needed to start road grading m*therf*ck*rs. So that's what I did." Colorful, indeed.
Once Jenkins returns to the field, he may experience the typical ups and downs that rookie linemen often face when transitioning from college to the pros. His upside is undeniable and he will make Chicago’s offensive line better in due time. That should be music to everyone’s ears, especially their rookie quarterback.
Read our exclusive scouting report on Jenkins here.