The Cowboys had the chance to showcase their top draft prospects at their Pro Day on Thursday, and among them is offensive tackle Teven Jenkins.
Seen by many as a first-round talent in the 2021 draft, the three-year starter came away from the 2020 season as one of the top collegiate offensive linemen in the nation. Jenkins feels as though he brings a nasty edge to the game, something that is apparent in how he appears on tape.
“[I’m a] tough, physical, nasty motherfucker,” Jenkins said when asked about the type of player NFL teams will get in him. “A dude who does not shy away from hits; a dude’s who is going to bust his ass.”
Though Jenkins had two years of starting experience heading into his redshirt senior year, it wasn’t until 2020 that he truly burst out as an early-round draft prospect. He mentioned that a specific conversation with members of the Cowboys’ coaching staff helped light a fire under him.
“I had a talk with my o-line coach and strength coach [who told me] if I was going to be the guy this year, I was going to need to be a motherfucker on the field — be a dickhead, be more aggressive than I was. And I took that personally.”
That big step has been apparent to those around Jenkins in the Oklahoma State program, too. Head coach Mike Gundy knew that Jenkins was a talented players, but stated that he took the game a lot more seriously this past year and showcased a stronger work ethic than he had before.
“He’s always been very gifted, so the game came easy to him,” Gundy said to Windy City Gridiron about Jenkins. “A year ago, nine months ago, it looked like he made a decision that he was going to have to play at a higher level, to dominate at this level, which gives him a chance to play at the next level. I think that’s the transformation that he made.”
Gundy also compared Jenkins to Russell Okung, a former Oklahoma State tackle who has gone on to become a two-time Pro Bowler at the NFL level. He mentioned that Jenkins has “every bit as much skill as [Okung]” and that, if Jenkins is able to play with the strong work ethic that Okung has in the pros, then he could see similar successes.
Jenkins was far from the only top prospect on the Cowboys’ roster this year. In fact, the most nationally-recognized player on the team may be running back Chuba Hubbard, who broke out with 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns in 2019. Though his shortened 2020 wasn’t as good statistically as his sophomore year, he still averaged over 89 yards per game in the seven outings he had.
Hubbard has been recognized not only for his vision in between the tackles and his athletic ability, but also for his willingness to stand up for what he believes in. In June of 2020, Hubbard spoke out against Gundy after the coach was found wearing a shirt with an OAN logo, belonging to a far-right news network. Though the decision to speak out against a coach may have been a difficult one for many student-athletes, Hubbard believes in being himself and standing up for his beliefs.
“At the end of the day, I’m me,” Hubbard said. “I’m Chuba. I’m someone that’s going to stand up for what’s right. I’m going to speak up when I think something’s wrong. I look at myself as a leader, not just on the football field, but also off the football field, so whenever I’m called to do something or I need to speak up on something, I’ll do that. That being said, I make mistakes, I learn from them. I’m a young man; I’m still growing in a lot of different ways. Like I said, I’ll make mistakes, but I’ll do things right, as well. The big thing from it is that I always learn from my mistakes.”
Oklahoma State features some intriguing NFL-caliber talent on defense, too. Among their key defenders this past season was cornerback Rodarius Williams, who earned a Senior Bowl invitation after tallying 27 pass deflections in four seasons at the collegiate level. The brother of Browns cornerback Greedy Williams, the Oklahoma State standout mentions that having a brother who has already been in the league for two seasons has aided him tremendously.
“It helped me a lot,” Williams said of having a brother in the NFL. “Just having someone so close to me — not just a friend, but a blood brother — he gave me the good times and the bad times of the league, so I already know what to expect once I step my foot out that door.”
Linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga is another notable prospect whom many draft analysts have praised over the course of the last few months. Though incredibly productive with 180 tackles and 20.5 tackles for a loss over the last two seasons, it was on special teams where he was able to make an impact earlier on in his collegiate career. With over 500 snaps in the third phase, he takes pride in his ability to contribute in any way necessary for his team.
“That’s something that I pride myself on,” explained Ogbongbemiga to Windy City Gridiron. “No matter I was starting or I was a backup, I wanted to be on the special teams, because I know how valuable it is in the NFL, and just to keep me fresh and my technique on everything that I do. I think my sophomore year, I was on all four [special teams units]. I took great pride in that and did whatever I had to do to make an impact. I made a lot of game-changing plays on special teams, and I just wanted to do whatever I could to help us win, and I have the same mentality going into the NFL. Whatever team that takes me, just know that you’re getting a player that is all in, no matter what it takes.”
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