New Bears tackle Teven Jenkins talks a good game and has played at Oklahoma State as a physical, dominant blocker.
Yet, it might take a bit for him to reach a realization of what's needed to be at his best in the NFL. It's what happened to him in college.
At least this is the way his college coach described what happened at Oklahoma State. The 6-foot-6, 317-pound tough-talking lineman wasn't always as bold and mean as he seemed after the Bears moved up to take him 39th on Friday in the NFL Draft.
"He came from Topeka, Kan., as you (media) know, and when he arrived I don't think he had any idea what college football was like," Oklahoma City coach Mike Gundy said. "And just in the last year, he's finally developed some toughness and some grit that will certainly benefit him playing in the NFL.
"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"
-Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State coach on Teven Jenkins
"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. 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."
Gundy suggested Jenkins simply didn't realize how good he could be in relation to the task at hand.
"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 (it) over the last 18 months," Gundy said. "So he really brought that to our program just recently.
"I used to joke with Teven when we were in the weight room and there'd be 60 or 80 players in there and a coaching staff, and I would ask him, I'd say, 'You know, Teven, there's one guy in this room that could be worth $30 or $40 million dollars some day.' And he would look at me. And I would say, 'Do you know who that is?' And he would say no. And I would say, 'It's you, Teven. That's who it could be.' So I think that you guys are going to be shocked with what you're going to have in a couple years."
With the Bears, Jenkins is going to wind up facing Bears pass rushers Khalil Mack on a daily basis in practice.
Jenkins calls it a case of "iron sharpens iron," and he hopes to improve from this. Jenkins said this is the way Jenkins is going to realize how good he can be.
"I think Chicago's still got one that can rush the passer pretty good and they might sling him around, slap his head a little bit," Gundy said. "But here's what's going to happen: He'll eventually learn that he has to fight back and when he has to fight back he has a physical, uncanny presence that will allow him to be successful."