Chicago Bears 2023 NFL Draft: Draft Grade of Gervon Dexter
With the 53rd-overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears selected defensive tackle Gervon Dexter out of the University of Florida. This was the first selection by the Bears in the second round and was the second player taken in the draft after their first-round selection of Darnell Wright.
Chicago Bears Draft Grade: Gervon Dexter, DT - Florida
A lot of fans had mixed feelings about most of the selections by Ryan Poles and company on Day 2. Many fans were clamming for players like John Michael Schmitz, Adetomiwa Adebawore, or Keion White. It is clear that teams were not as high on Adebawore as most thought they would be, as he has yet to be taken with only eleven picks left to go in the third round. Schmitz was available at both Bears' picks in the second round, but the Bears clearly did not have a center as a Day 2 need. White went a few picks before the Bears were up to the Patriots.
With Gervon Dexter, the Bears have a monster in the trenches. He is a defensive tackle that stands at 6'6 and about 310 pounds. He is a freak athlete for his size, as he posted a 4.88 40-yard dash at the combine. He is an instant upgrade to what the Bears currently have on the interior of the defensive line, and he will go a long way in taking up blocks to free space for the new linebacking core.
Dexter's main strengths are his ability to use power off the line. His strength combined with his raw athleticism lets him dominate off the line of scrimmage when going linear. His acceleration combined with his long strides also go a long way in helping him win. In run defense, he uses his strong anchor to drive up blockers.
Dexter also has solid but not elite agility. This keeps him on the second tier of interior lineman compared to names like Jalen Carter and Brian Breese. Still, Dexter uses his agility well, specifically when driving a blocker back. He efficiently uses his upper body in both run defense and pass rushing and can twitch well to shed blocks.
What most fans are worried about and what his main weaknesses are is his lack of lateral explosiveness and weak pass-rush moves. He also can be slow off the line at times, but he can make up for it with his athleticism and acceleration.
For the athlete that he is, he struggles to move laterally a bit, and it shows in how much ground he can cover when not just driving straight through a blocker. He will have to work on his footwork and clean up his hip movements. This will also help him in pass rushing. Lastly, his motor can be a bit suspect at times, which does not seem ideal for the HITS principles of Matt Eberflus. It will be interesting to see if they can unlock that part of him.
He only put up two sacks in his final season at college with four tackles for loss. Not great numbers, but his talents definitely show on tape even if the numbers do not match. He will need to develop a more well-rounded pass-rush repertoire in order to develop into the 3-tech that is so important to the Matt Eberflus defense.
Many consider the Bears to have reached for him at 53 overall, but many of the best edge and defensive line prospects were coming off of the board quickly at the time. This is not a player that got picked and fans can be instantly confident in him as a true interior star, but he has all of the potential to be that guy for the Bears. Whether he plays 1-tech or 3-tech will be up to how he does during camp and how the rest of the interior depth plays out, but as of right now, he will at least compete for that role.
Interior defensive line was one of the biggest needs for the Chicago Bears going into the draft. With the selection of Dexter and then Zaach Pickens in the third round, the Bears now have two talented players to fill out the interior of the line. They may not be "NFL-ready blue-chip players," but both should contribute to this defense. In the meantime, check out some highlights.