By RICK PETERSON
Topeka High product Teven Jenkins had to wait longer to hear his name called in the 2021 NFL Draft than most draft forecasters thought he would.
But when the Chicago Bears traded up to pick the Oklahoma State star offensive lineman in Friday’s second round with the 39th overall selection, Jenkins made history in his hometown, easily becoming the highest-ever NFL draft pick from Topeka or Shawnee County.
Most draft prognosticators had Jenkins going in Thursday’s first round, with some 11 mock drafts predicting that the Bears would pick Jenkins with the 20th overall pick, but his name was not called until the early second.
“You know coming into yesterday my agent let me know there’s a strong possibility for the first, but he made sure I definitely wouldn’t get my hopes up for everything because there was a strong possibility of going second also,” Jenkins said in a teleconference.
The Bears made sure they got the opportunity to get Jenkins in the second round, moving up from No. 52 to 39 in the draft order to pick Jenkins.
The Bears acquired the choice along with a fifth-round pick from the Carolina Panthers in exchange for the No. 52 selection and picks in the third round sixth round.
Now the goal for the 6-foot-6, 320-pound Jenkins is to prove that NFL teams made a mistake in not taking him earlier.
“I’d be busting my butt no matter what I’m doing like for whatever team,” Jenkins said. “Now I have more people to prove wrong because I’m in the second round and coming to this beautiful city of Chicago.”
Jenkins said he wants to play with the same edge in the pros that he did at Oklahoma State.
“My edge to me is about being able to finish anybody in the dirt,” Jenkins said in his post-draft interview. 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.
“Basically, I want to impose my will against another man and use that force against him until he gets worn out and tired. And I don’t care how long it takes, I’m going to do that 24/7 and I’m going to do that all game.”
Jenkins was a four-year letterman and three-year starter for the Cowboys and was a first-team All-Big 12 pick last fall.
Other Shawnee County players who have been picked in the NFL Draft include Shawnee Heights products Corey Ballentine (sixth round, Giants), Troy Wilson (seventh round, 49ers) and Tom Dinkel (fifth round, Bengals), Topeka West grad Warren Seitz (10th round, Steelers), Hayden grad Paul Oswald (11th round, Steelers), Washburn Rural’s Trey Lewis (sixth round, Falcons) and Silver Lake product Tony Leiker (seventh round, Packers).