Preparing to make seven selections in the 2021 NFL Draft next month, the Buccaneers have reportedly begun to meet virtually with eligible prospects. One of those players includes Oklahoma State offensive tackle prospect Teven Jenkins, who either has or will meet with Tampa Bay, according to Justin Melo of The Draft Network.
Jenkins, 6-foot-6, 320 pounds, is one of the more versatile offensive line prospects in the entire upcoming draft. Although he primarily played right tackle throughout his four-year playing career with the Cowboys, he has ample experience at left tackle, and even manned the left and right guard positions throughout his redshirt freshman season.
A strong pass protector, Pro Football Focus credits Jenkins with allowing only three sacks and 37 quarterback pressures across 1,394 snaps in pass protection. His PFF run-blocking grade improved each year, jumping from 61.1 in 2017 to 93.6 in 2020.
Given his consistent, year-over-year improvement, the 23-year-old Jenkins has emerged as a potential late first round draft selection. Tampa Bay currently owns the No. 32 pick.
Something that could appeal to the Buccaneers beyond Jenkins' flexibility along the front five: Jenkins has accrued 23 career snaps as an eligible sixth blocker, a role that imminent free agent offensive lineman Joe Haeg often filled throughout the 2020 season on run and play-action plays.
Left tackle Donovan Smith played the best ball of his career following Tampa Bay's Week 13 bye and through the playoffs, while rookie right tackle Tristan Wirfs is already considered one of the best at his position following year one. All that aside, the Buccaneers could be wise to invest in a young offensive tackle to groom for the long-term, and perhaps as an insurance policy should Smith take a step back to his previously inconsistent form in 2021.
Regardless of how he plays - perhaps Smith emerges as an elite left tackle next year - his contract is set to expire following the 2021 season. Adding an immediate depth piece, perhaps to groom as a swing tackle and Smith's eventual heir, wouldn't be the worst idea at the end of the first round. Jenkins would be an intriguing option, if so.