This Chicago Bears player living up to the pressure would be a great sign

It's time for this second-year player to prove he's worth the confidence of the Bears.
Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings v Chicago Bears / Todd Rosenberg/GettyImages

One of the biggest question marks that the Chicago Bears have on their roster as they start Training Camp later this month is on the defensive line.

Many view the Bears as a potential playoff team in the NFC during the 2024 season, but in order for that to be the case, the team will need improved play from its defensive line. The in-season trade of Montez Sweat elevated the play of each player on the Bears' defensive line, but the unit still struggled to find consistency overall.

The Bears have yet to make any significant move this offseason for their defensive line. Austin Booker could be a sleeper candidate to have a bigger impact than expected as a fifth-round pass rusher, but the team is asking a lot of Andrew Billings, Gervon Dexter Sr., and Zacch Pickens.

Along those lines, Pro Football Focus has Dexter listed as one of the second-year players under the most pressure during the 2024 season.

"Dexter flashed potential as a rookie, and the Bears are extremely high on him, but he recorded a 36.2 PFF run-defense grade in his first season. His pass-rush production was significantly better, with 29 total pressures coming from 297 pass-rushing snaps, but Dexter needs to take that leap in Year 2 to justify Chicago’s faith and not put a cap on how good this defense can be."

Pro Football Focus

Dexter is in line to get increased playing time in the middle of the Bears' defensive line after the departure of Justin Jones earlier this season. While it was a slow start for Dexter at the start of his rookie season in 2023, he seemed to find his footing during the final month of the season, often creating disruption. If Dexter is able to create that disruption consistently during the 2024 season, the concern of the Bears' defensive line may be erased.