Hub Arkush: Jenkins' former coach says he 'has a freakish ability'

  • Oklahoma State offensive linemen Teven Jenkins, left, participates in a drill at NFL pro day on April 1 in Stillwater, Okla.

    Oklahoma State offensive linemen Teven Jenkins, left, participates in a drill at NFL pro day on April 1 in Stillwater, Okla. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 5/1/2021 7:26 PM

Teven Jenkins' head coach at Oklahoma State is known for hyperbole.

Remember Mike Gundy's epic rant defending one of his players with, "Come after me! I'm a man, I'm 40!"

 

So what are we to make of Gundy telling us Saturday, "I would not be surprised in two years if people are looking back and saying he is potentially the best offensive lineman taken in this draft."

He wasn't done either adding, "We had a first-round pick, Russell Okung, gosh I bet it's been 12 years ago now. I think he was the sixth player picked in the draft and he's been in the league for, I don't know, 10 or 12 years, been tremendously successful.

"Teven is more talented than him in my opinion. He just hasn't scratched that surface yet."

Boy, if you can't get excited about that ...

Also particularly interesting were two other topics Gundy addressed.

Scouting Jenkins and then listening to and reading all the other reports on him I assumed Jenkins came out of the womb looking to rip heads off.

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But according to Gundy, "I think he started feeling it a little a couple years ago and then particularly just within the past year because of agents and people trying to get in touch with him, showing that he has the ability to play at this level.

"He's not there yet. But as that staff there in Chicago learns to really push him, he has a freakish ability."

When I asked Gundy what turned the light on he said, "I've been in college football for 31 years and I've seen players who don't see themselves playing at the highest level that they can.

"And I say that because he has phenomenal athleticism, strength, he's highly intelligent, and he's just started to really get into football over the last 18 months.

"Now I know that sounds funny, but when you're as gifted and talented as he is, you can get by being a good college football player without having that grit and toughness like he's just developed."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

How nasty has Jenkins become? Here's how he described his mission Friday evening.

"My edge to me is about being able to finish anybody in the dirt," Jenkins said. "I don't care who you are lining up against me, I don't care what you earn against me, I don't care who you are, I'm going to attack you. I'm going to do that 24/7 and I'm going to do that all game."

The second topic was Gundy's belief Jenkins could be just as good on the left side as the right side.

"Again, I'm going to go back to he's so talented athletically below the hips that I can't imagine they couldn't train him either way," Gundy said. "I've never coached in the NFL but when you guys get to watch him in practice and in training and see his athleticism, I think you're going to see that he could stay on either side of the ball."

The Bears drafting Larry Borom out of Missouri, who is definitely a right tackle if not a guard, next, pretty much cements they believe Jenkins will compete on the left side too.

Forget whether he eventually replaces Charles Leno or Germain Ifedi, that versatility makes Jenkins that much more valuable because they don't currently have anyone but Leno on the roster that can play on the left side.

When you add that at 6-6, 317 pounds, this young man looks thick but lean and it appears he can easily add another 10, 12 pounds of muscle/bulk in the weight room without sacrificing any of that athleticism, it does look like the Bears could have something special here.

Minimally he's a prospect who it's almost impossible not to get excited about.

I'm pretty sure Juan Castillo is.

• Twitter: @Hub_Arkush

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