Gervon Dexter Sr.

What are reasonable expectations for Bears second-round pick Gervon Dexter?

The Chicago Bears made a concerted effort to improve their defensive line in the 2023 NFL Draft. The second-round selection of Florida’s Gervon Dexter Sr. was followed by a third-rounder spent on South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens and a seventh-rounder on Kennesaw State’s Travis Bell. All three rookies have a chance to contribute in 2023, but it’s Dexter whose long-term outlook is the most promising.

But it’s that long-term part that Bears fans have to keep at the front of their mind.

Expectations for Dexter will be what usually comes with being a second-round pick. He was the 53rd overall selection; those guys are supposed to challenge for a starting job and make an impact in Year 1. But Dexter’s relative inexperience and adjustment to what the Chicago Bears’ defense will ask him to do could make his impact take a little longer to be felt.

“He’s a younger player who hasn’t played a ton of football,” Bears DL coach Travis Smith said at OTAs last week. “He played in a different type of system. The thing for him is it starts with the stance. Every rookie that comes in – when I was a younger coach, you never even talked about a stance. You just get a stance. It’s a stance. You get in the stance. It’s a three-point stance, whatever. It’s not that way anymore. It’s the simplest thing that we make sure we detail first before we can go to step 2, 3, or 4. We can all sit here like, ‘I want a violent rusher with a cross chop, pump, all that s–t.’ Well, if I can’t get him in the stance, all that other stuff doesn’t matter.”

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Focusing on Dexter’s stance as an early priority during his Bears career may not be what fans hoped to hear, but it makes sense. In fact, Dexter’s rawness is likely one of the things that made him such an appealing player for GM Ryan Poles. If coached correctly, his upside could be as high as any defensive lineman drafted in 2023.

“There are different things that he used to do that we are getting out of the habit of,” Smith said. “Is it 100 percent of the time? No. But is it getting better every day? I haven’t watched all the film from (Wednesday), but there are things we saw flash in practice that we corrected from yesterday that he has already improved on.”

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