The Chicago Bears wrapped their 2022 season, where they finished 3-14 and lost their final 10 games of the year. But the future is bright heading into this 2023 offseason, as GM Ryan Poles has the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, a boatload of salary cap space ($118 million) and a franchise quarterback in Justin Fields.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears for the 2022 season. We’ll recap their 2022 season and look ahead to how they factor into 2023.
Coming in at No. 6 is Teven Jenkins, a player who was seemingly without a position in August, but wound up becoming the team’s best offensive lineman by October.
AP Photo/Ben VanHouten
Experience: 2nd year
2022 cap hit: $1,906,329
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – OCTOBER 24: Khalil Herbert #24 of the Chicago Bears celebrates with Teven Jenkins #76 after scoring a 25-yard receiving touchdown during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
2 sacks allowed, 3 penalties (via PFF)
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 13: George Karlaftis #56 of the Kansas City Chiefs is defended by Teven Jenkins #76 of the Chicago Bears during the first half of the preseason game at Soldier Field on August 13, 2022 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Jenkins’ 2022 season with the Bears felt like it was going to end before it got started. The second-year player out of Oklahoma State had fallen out of the competition at tackle during offseason activities and dealt with trade rumors as training camp got underway. He admitted struggling with the rumors and uncertainty, but a new opportunity presented itself halfway through the preseason.
Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, Jenkins moved inside to right guard and quickly learned how to play the position well. He rotated with Lucas Patrick for the first few weeks of the year before completely taking over the spot and flashing consistently. Jenkins was the highest graded Bears offensive lineman (80.7) according to PFF and showcased his mauler mentality that was seen over and over during his days in college.
An impressive season was disrupted by injuries to Jenkins, most notably a scary neck injury he suffered late in the year. Jenkins would play in just one of the team’s final three games as he recovered from the injury. But all in all, Jenkins shined at a position he was still learning after he was essentially counted out.
Aug 27, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Chicago Bears offensive tackle Teven Jenkins (76) walks off the field after the game between the Bears and the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
The Bears need to retool their offensive line during this offseason after they surrendered 58 sacks last season. Jenkins should be one of the players who will stay, but he knows anything can happen after what he went through last offseason. “We have a lot of cap space and a lot of opportunities in this draft, so I really don’t know how it’s gonna go,” Jenkins said via Sports Illustrated. “I don’t ever wanna be the person that says, ‘yeah, I have a spot.'”
The offensive line could be a position that sees plenty of movement this offseason and Jenkins feels he needs to be guarded given the uncertainty that surrounded him prior to last season. It would be a shock to see the Bears move on from a player who established himself as the best lineman on the team, though. The biggest concern is his health.
Jenkins’ neck injury prevented him from finishing out the season and it’s yet another significant injury he’s suffered in 18 months. His health could be something to monitor in the future. But when he’s on the field, he’s shown he can be an impact player.
15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022
We’re counting down our 15 Most Impactful Bears of 2022. Check back every day.
6. G Teven Jenkins
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