Teven Jenkins

NFC North Rumors: Gafford, Graham, Bears, Jenkins

Packers’ offseason acquisition Rico Gafford has been asked to move from wide receiver back to his original position of cornerback, according to Matt Schneidman who did an early projection of how the Packers’ 53-man roster could play out for The Athletic this week. Gafford is a speedy player whose versatility led the Raiders to use him as a Lamar Jackson stand in on scout team before playing the Ravens when he was in Las Vegas a couple of years ago.

Gafford was an undrafted cornerback out of Wyoming back in 2018. Over two years of play with the Cowboys, he recorded 6 interceptions, 11 passes defensed, and 3 forced fumbles at the collegiate level. After signing initially with the Titans, Gafford was cut before training camp and signed with the Raiders who asked him to change his primary position to wide receiver because of his speed. He played mostly special teams in Oakland but did catch two balls including a 49-yard touchdown pass from Derek Carr in 2019.

Green Bay has a history of moving undrafted wide receivers to cornerback, most recently in 2016, when the Packers convinced University of Miami wide receiver Herb Waters to move to cornerback due to a couple of injuries in the position room. More famously, the Packers persuaded another former Hurricanes’ receiver, Sam Shields, to switch to cornerback after he went undrafted in 2010. Shields was named the third cornerback on the depth chart after the preseason, behind Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams, and went on to start 62 of the 80 games he would play in a Packers’ uniform over a seven-year stay in Green Bay.

Here are a few more rumors out of the NFC North, all of these coming out of the Windy City:

  • After making his NFL debut late into the season last year, Bears cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. could have a shot at a starting spot in the slot over free agent addition Tavon Young in the upcoming season, according to Courtney Cronin of ESPN. A sixth-round pick in 2021, Graham struggled early to make the team, spending most of the season on the practice squad. In a late-December game against the Vikings, though, Graham heard his name called as the Bears’ roster was depleted by injuries and COVID-19. An impressive performance in that game made his promotion permanent as he spent the rest of the season on the active roster. The Bears used their highest draft pick this year to select Kyler Gordon in the second round to start opposite Jaylon Johnson on the outside. This will leave Graham to compete with the former Raven, Young, in the slot. Young, once the highest-paid nickel corner in the NFL, has suffered multiple torn ACLs and a neck injury that have forced him to miss the entire 2017 and 2019 seasons, as well as most of the 2020 season. Even if Graham can’t beat out Young to start, the Bears will be glad to have him as a strong back-up option.
  • The Bears announced some updates to their staff this week, according to Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic. The team has announced Reese Hicks as the new West Coast scout, Tom Bradway as the new Northeast scout, and Ryan Cavanaugh as the team’s new Midwest scout. In addition to those personnel positions, Chicago announced two moves in the analytics department. Krithi Chandrakasan will be the director of football analytics and Ryan Hubley will serve as the football systems developer.
  • With recent news that the Bears will look at 2022 fifth-round draft pick Braxton Jones at left tackle in camp, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reminded readers that when Teven Jenkins was drafted in the second round last year, many saw him as a guard at the NFL-level. If Jones does end up impressing on the blindside this summer, Jenkins could find himself filling the Bears’ hole at right guard.

Bears OL Teven Jenkins Finishes Minicamp With Second-String Offense

Bears OL Teven Jenkins began practicing with Chicago’s second-team offense towards the end of OTAs, and that continued throughout the club’s mandatory minicamp, per Kevin Fishbain and Adam Jahns of The Athletic (subscription required). Meanwhile, Braxton Jones has been operating as the first-string left tackle, with 2021 fifth-rounder Larry Borom at RT.

Jenkins, the No. 39 overall pick of the 2021 draft, was originally viewed as a future fixture on the blindside. Unfortunately, he was forced to undergo back surgery last August, and he ultimately appeared in just six games (two starts) as a rookie.

Although both Jenkins and Borom were selected by the Bears’ prior regime, the new coaching staff appeared plenty content to move forward with them as their first-stringers — Jenkins at RT and Borom at LT — just a couple of weeks ago. So it is notable that Jenkins has been demoted in favor of Jones, a rookie Day 3 selection.

Naturally, head coach Matt Eberflus downplayed the significance of the move. “We’re going to finish off the minicamp with this alignment, and then we’ll decide, ‘Hey, we like this alignment, that alignment,’ or, like I said, ‘(We) don’t like either one; let’s go with a new one,'” he said. “So we’re just assessing guys’ talents, assessing their skill level and going forward from there.”

With three unproven options vying for jobs as OL bookends in support of a second-year quarterback, Justin Fields, there is certainly plenty of logic in trying different alignments, particularly in OTAs and minicamp. But in a separate piece, Fishbain and Jahns suggest that there is more to Jenkins’ current status than Eberflus is letting on. Jahns posits that, if the Bears simply wanted to try Borom out on the right side, they could have shifted him to the second team to give him a look while keeping Jenkins with the first-team offense at RT, where he had been penciled in for months. Indeed, OL continuity is meaningful, even in spring work, and it appears that Jenkins is simply not performing at a high enough level right now.

Obviously, the alignment for the start of training camp will be particularly telling. While Eberflus was non-committal when asked if either Borom or Jenkins could see time at guard, both players lined up exclusively at tackle in practices that were open to the media.

OL Notes: Browns, Bakhtiari, Pats, Bears

Although the Browns signed the Seahawks’ primary center of the past two years (Ethan Pocic), they are first attempting to see if one of their recent backups can claim J.C. Tretter‘s old job. Nick Harris is working as Cleveland’s first-string center during OTAs, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal notes. A fifth-round pick out of Washington in 2020, Harris made one start in each of the past two seasons — the late-2021 outing came when Tretter contracted COVID-19 — but he practiced extensively with the Browns’ first-unit O-line last season. Tretter dealt with injuries, and while the veteran played through them, he often sat out practices or worked in a limited capacity. This gave Harris a runway to full-fledged starter action and gave the Browns enough confidence to make Tretter a March cap casualty. The NFLPA president remains a free agent.

Ditching Tretter, 30, remains a gamble for the Browns, who still hold the NFL’s most cap space. Tretter graded as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-best center in 2021, started all but one game in five Cleveland seasons and provided a solid pivot on one of the league’s best lines. Here is the latest from the O-line scene:

  • The ACL tear David Bakhtiari suffered on New Year’s Eve 2020 wrecked his 2021 season, limiting him to just one game (Week 18). The Packers are proceeding cautiously with their two-time All-Pro left tackle this offseason. Matt LaFleur confirmed the team is holding Bakhtiari out of OTAs, via ESPN.com’s Rob Demovsky (on Twitter), for conservation purposes. The expectation is the 10th-year veteran returns for training camp. Still, the lengthy recovery Bakhtiari required from his injury makes his status worth monitoring ahead of an age-31 season.
  • New England picked up Isaiah Wynn‘s fifth-year option in 2021, guaranteeing the injury-prone left tackle $10.4MM this season. But he has missed OTA time, leaving recently re-signed right tackle Trent Brown — the left tackle on the Patriots’ 2018 Super Bowl-winning team — to fill in on the left side. The Pats have made a few trades involving contract-year talent under Bill Belichick — Sony Michel, Brandin Cooks and Jamie Collins being recent examples. If New England was to dangle Wynn, Jeff Howe of The Athletic notes teams would be willing to fork over a reasonable return (subscription required). That might be a bridge too far, considering the Pats already traded a veteran blocker (Shaq Mason) and saw Brown’s run of absences continue with eight more last season.
  • The Bears have 2021 second-rounder Teven Jenkins pegged as their right tackle starter. Jenkins returned from preseason back surgery to start two games as a rookie, but he was close to 350 pounds last year. The Chicago blocker is back near his listed 320-pound weight, with Adam Jahns of The Athletic noting Jenkins is checking in around 325. Larry Borom is penciled in to take over for Jason Peters at left tackle.

NFC Rumors: Jenkins, Eagles, Seahawks, Rams

Offensive lineman Teven Jenkins was taken in the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft last year by the Chicago Bears, but only got a small portion of his rookie season to earn a spot on the line. Well, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic, the new Bears’ staff is giving him the best chance, alongside fellow 2021 Draft pick Larry Borom, to start at right or left tackle.

Jenkins underwent back surgery in the preseason last year and was placed on injured reserve. He returned and made his debut in early December, playing on special teams. An injury to left tackle Jason Peters opened the door for Jenkins and he subbed in for the next two weeks, returning to a reserve role after that.

New offensive line coach Chris Morgan has been pleasantly surprised by the two second-year players, so far, but remarks that “everything changes once the pads come on.” It appears, though, that, for now, the starting tackle jobs are Jenkins and Borom’s to lose.

Here are some other rumors from around the NFC, starting with a rumor out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • The Eagles were the franchise that mercifully and excitedly put an end to the slide of presumed first-round pick Nakobe Dean. Dean ended up falling to the third round due to projections about his long-term health. The Eagles could’ve gone another route, though, according to Zach Berman of The Athletic. Berman says that Philadelphia reportedly had multiple trade offers to move back from the pick they used to select Dean. Due to their significant lack of of Day 3 picks, it would have made all of the sense in the world for them to take one of those teams up on their offers, but, lo and behold, the Eagles stood pat and drafted Dean, a testament to the confidence they have in his addition.
  • The Eagles weren’t the only team looking at the possibility of moving. According to Brady Henderson of ESPN, “the Seahawks tried to trade up into the late first round” of the 2022 NFL Draft for Penn State outside linebacker Arnold Ebiketie. Like Philadelphia, Seattle stood pat, hoping he may slide to them in the second round. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, Atlanta moved up to select Ebiketie two spots in front of them. Seattle ended up selecting Minnesota outside linebacker Boye Mafe instead. Mafe is no consolation prize but a strong pick in his own regard, having generated first-round buzz before slipping to the front of the second round. Seattle swung and missed on Ebiketie, but they most certainly did not strike out when they landed Mafe.
  • The Rams won Super Bowl LVI despite the losses before the game of tight end Tyler Higbee and safety Jordan Fuller. Fuller suffered an ankle injury in the team’s Week 18 loss to the 49ers and Higbee suffered a knee injury in the NFC Championship game. Both players underwent offseason surgery and, according to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, are “working their way back up to full football activity.”

Bears Activate T Teven Jenkins From IR

Despite Teven Jenkins undergoing back surgery in August, it appears the Bears will see their second-round pick on the field this season. The rookie tackle is back on Chicago’s 53-man roster.

The Bears activated Jenkins from IR on Saturday, a move Matt Nagy indicated was on tap ahead of Week 13. While it is not certain if Jenkins will move into the starting lineup soon, his seeing any time this year can be viewed as progress. The Oklahoma State product faced the prospect of missing his rookie season.

Chicago parted ways with longtime tackle starters Charles Leno and Bobby Massie this offseason and moved to sign Jason Peters after Jenkins’ injury. Peters’ extensive injury history notwithstanding, the 39-year-old veteran has started every game for the Bears this season. Jenkins received reps at both the left and right tackle spots during training camp, so it will be interesting to see how the Bears deploy him to start his career.

Jenkins was the fifth tackle off the board in this year’s draft. He started 35 games at Oklahoma State, helping Chuba Hubbard earn Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year acclaim in 2019 and earning first-team all-conference recognition last year. With the Bears having an 18th-year veteran at left tackle and having not invested much on the right side, Jenkins will be given every opportunity to be a long-term starter up front.

Bears Designate Teven Jenkins For Return

The Bears have designated Teven Jenkins to return from injured reserve, head coach Matt Nagy announced. The Bears will now have a 21-day window to activate the rookie offensive tackle. 

It’s been a while since Teven’s put the pads on, so we’ll start there,” Nagy said (via NBCSports.com). “That will be exciting for us to see where he’s at. I know he’s really anxious and excited to get out there. As far as the sides and stuff, we’ll work through it with himIt’s just gonna be honestly, really, an hour-by-hour, day-by-day process with him. But it’s definitely a good thing to have, and we’re excited to get him out there.”

Jenkins, the No. 39 overall pick in this year’s draft, hasn’t put the pads on since undergoing back surgery in August. Before that, the Bears planned to use him as their No. 3 tackle. On the plus side, they were able to add Jason Peters that same week. Once Jenkins is able to return, he’ll slot somewhere behind the ex-Eagles star and Elijah Wilkinson. The Bears also have Lachavious Simmons and fifth-round rookie Larry Borom on hand.

The Bears packed the No. 52 choice and a third-round pick to move up for Jenkins, so they clearly have high hopes for him. Now, the Oklahoma State product could be days away from making his debut.

Wednesday NFL Transactions: NFC North

Following the 53-man roster cutdown deadline Tuesday, many teams will make slight tweaks to their rosters. In addition to waiver claims, teams can begin constructing their 16-man practice squads today. These BearsLionsPackers and Vikings moves are noted below.

Here are Wednesday’s NFC North transactions, which will continue to be updated throughout the day.

Chicago Bears




Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Detroit Lions


Signed to practice squad:

Green Bay Packers

Signed to practice squad:

Minnesota Vikings



Placed on IR:

Signed to practice squad:

Bears’ Teven Jenkins Done For Year?

Teven Jenkins‘ rookie season might have to wait. The second-round left tackle will undergo back surgery later today, according to Bears head coach Matt Nagy.

The “hope is to have Jenkins back this season,” Nagy says, but it doesn’t sound especially promising. Jenkins, the No. 39 overall pick in this year’s draft, was slated to support starters Jason Peters and Lachavious Simmons. Now, he’ll likely have to focus on rehab with an eye on 2022.

The Bears have high hopes for Jenkins. After selecting quarterback Justin Fields in the first round, they packaged No. 52 and a third-round pick to nab the Oklahoma State standout early in the second. And, just a couple of days after drafting Jenkins, the Bears released long-time tackle Charles Leno.

With Jenkins sidelined, the Bears may look to beef up their offensive line in the coming weeks. If they look to the free agent market, the Bears could consider the likes of Mitchell Schwartz, Russell Okung, and Demar Dotson.

Bears To Sign Second-Round OT Teven Jenkins

The Bears got Justin Fields deal wrapped up last week, and now they’re inking their second pick. Chicago has agreed to terms with second-round offensive tackle Teven Jenkins and he’ll sign his rookie contract later today, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

As Rapsheet points out, that will wrap up the team’s draft class with all seven rookies being signed. The Bears drafted Jenkins 39th overall out of Oklahoma State. Chicago gave up a third-round pick to trade up with the Panthers from No. 52 and nab Jenkins.

Just a couple of days after drafting Jenkins the team released long-time tackle Charles Leno. They reportedly plan on plugging in Jenkins as a starter right away at left tackle. He’ll be tasked with protecting the blindside of Fields and/or Andy Dalton as a rookie.

Jenkins was a three-year starter at Oklahoma State and broke out this past season, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors. Germain Ifedi will start opposite him at right tackle.