Dexter brings athleticism up the middle of Bears defense
Doug Engle - USA Today Sports

Dexter brings athleticism up the middle of Bears defense

by - Senior Writer -

Building a championship caliber football team starts with a franchise QB and trickles down to the overall physicality within the organization. Perhaps the most important and overlooked area on any football team is winning in the trenches as that is what dictates the success of a team. Not only do you want to control the line of scrimmage, but you want to be physical up front and send a message to your opponents on both sides of the ball. That is something Ryan Poles has made a point to doing thus far in the 2023 NFL draft as the Bears continue to build a physical roster from the front to the back.

After drafting Darnell Wright in the first round to anchor the offensive line, the Bears went back to the trenches in the second round and focused on the defensive side of the ball this time by selecting Gervon Dexter from the University of Florida. Dexter was a name mentioned within the Bears pre-draft workouts for several months, so to see Chicago take him No.2 shouldn't shock anyone. Not only is Dexter a talented and good football player, but he is a load to deal with upfront, checking in at 313 pounds while also standing at 6-6. He can wreak havoc up front and on the edge, as he could be a nightmare for defensive coordinators to contend with.

While most viewed Dexter as a late second early third-round prospect, Chicago felt he was worth the risk and took him a bit sooner than expected. With Chicago focusing on the defensive side in free agency, especially the LB unit, adding more physicality up front seemed like a given especially if the right piece became available when they picked. Some mid-round selections have steal written all over them. Look no further than Florida DT Gervon Dexter as someone with steal potential written all over them.

If you have noticed anything about the Bears' mock drafts this season, it has them focusing on SEC players. Considering the talent level in the SEC, it makes a ton of sense, and Dexter is just another one of the many SEC players that the Bears were scouting during the pre-draft process. Dexter is your prototypical Boom or bust prospect as the tools are there to be a great player, but the consistency is not.

Should he be the boom pick, you are looking at a second-round steal that emerged into a first-round talent. If he becomes a bust, Dexter would be just another highly regarded prospect that never panned out in the NFL. Breaking down his film from Florida, Dexter has all the traits to be a dominant interior defender at the next level.

A big reason for that is his speed and power combo that allows him to overpower defenders and then use his speed to get by them if needed. While the intangibles have always been there, getting him to play consistently has not, and that is something some teams are concerned with. That is one of the reasons he isn't ranked as highly as you would think, as his consistency hasn't shown as frequently as anyone would like.

Comparing his size to many DTs in the NFL today, you can see him fitting in well. He is 6-6 and 303 pounds, but sometimes he plays bigger when needed. There are also times when he plays smaller, should he use the speed factor of his game to make plays, so having that versatility is crucial.

During his three seasons with the Gators, Dexter saw action in at least 10 games every year and finished with 36 games of college experience. When on the field, he came away with 125 tackles, including 105 in the past two seasons. To go with that, Dexter came away with 10.5 tackles for a loss and five sacks.

Ideally, you would love more production than that, but that is where the inconsistency comes into play. This player was one of the best DTs in high school and even had 18 sacks as a senior. He always could give you more than he showed, but now it becomes a matter of how to get that out of him.

Given what the Bears have invested behind him in the LB group, Dexter could be on the verge of breaking out sooner rather than later. His athleticism, strength and overall physicality gives the Bears a physical presence in the trenches not seen since Akiem Hicks.

You saw how vital his loss was when the Bears elected not to re-sign him, and the hope is that Dexter can become a Hicks type of player.

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