Here’s who Mel Kiper thinks the Bears will pick in the 2021 NFL Draft

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Bryan Perez
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It’s officially NFL Draft season, which means it’s also officially Mel Kiper Jr. season.

The longtime ESPN draft guru published his first mock draft of the 2021 NFL draft cycle this week and his pick for the Chicago Bears was pretty shocking.

At No. 20 overall, Kiper has the Bears taking Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jekins.

“This is a really strong offensive tackle class, and we could see a run on them in the 20s,” Kiper wrote. “Jenkins started at both right tackle and left tackle for the Cowboys, and he was having a stellar season before he opted out in late November. At 6-6, 310 pounds, he has long arms and there are no questions about his size to play tackle.

“In Chicago, he could start immediately on the right side, where Germain Ifedi is a free agent, and be the long-term replacement to Charles Leno at left tackle. The Bears could also be in the market for a top receiver with Allen Robinson headed to free agency.”

Look, any mock draft that has the Bears selecting an offensive lineman in the first round is one that I like. But is this the correct pick? Jenkins hasn’t been mentioned among this year’s top offensive tackles all that often, so either this is based on intel Kiper is receiving from NFL scouts, or Jenkins is about to make a strong push up the board.

Another nugget Kiper is failing to mention is the expected healthy return of Bobby Massie at right tackle in 2021. He’s signed through 2023 and represents a bargain for an average starter at the position.

Still, anytime a team can upgrade the offensive line, they have to do it. And if Jenkins is the kind of talent who can start immediately as a rookie, he’ll warrant a long look by the Bears in the first round.