NFL Draft: Bears Had First-Round Grade on OT Teven Jenkins

Why Pace traded up to draft Teven Jenkins in second round originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Ryan Pace was a happy man on Friday night, and no one can blame him for feeling good. Because less than an hour into the second round of the 2021 draft, he had locked up his second player with a consensus first-round grade at Halas Hall.

“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.”

So when the opportunity presented itself, Pace didn’t hesitate. He did the same thing he had done the night before, and has done many other times before that. He traded up and got his guy.

“We had talked about it this morning that if that situation occurred, along with a couple other situations, that would be one of the few situations where we would want to go up,” Pace said. “Especially for that position and who he was. Once it kind of got in that area and we were able to do that -- basically flip a three and five basically, and one of our four sixes, for us, it was worth it to get a guy we had graded that high with all those traits at that position. We were all pretty fired up about it.”

In all, the Bears sent the Nos. 52, 83 and 204 picks to Carolina in exchange for the No. 39 pick to select Jenkins, plus the No. 151 pick. With several other highly-touted offensive lineman still on the board when the Bears made their move, an aggressive trade like that may have been a bit surprising. But in the Bears’ eyes, Jenkins was enough of an upgrade over the rest of the pack to warrant the price to move up and draft him.

“There’s a lot of moments when we’re up here late at night and you’re watching guys and, you know, ‘Hey, Josh, you’ve gotta get in here and see this,’ and you’re tagging the play and it’s cool to see,” Pace said. “He was one of those guys, when you’re watching his tape, it doesn’t always happen with offensive linemen, but you’re kind of on the edge of your seat because he’s burying guys like that.

“A powerful tackle, you know 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.”

“In regards to their running success at Oklahoma State, obviously they've had a successful program. He's a big part of it. The running lanes he opens up on a regular basis is real. 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.

“That's why, second round, especially that position, that player, we wanted to make sure we got him.”


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