Gervon Dexter is officially a Chicago Bear. (Photo credit: Florida Gators)
In somewhat of a surprise, Gervon Dexter Sr., not consensus All-American offensive lineman O’Cyrus Torrence, was the second Gator selected in the 2023 NFL Draft.
No matter. Each player fills a need for their new teams quite nicely.
The Chicago Bears used the #53 overall pick in Round 2 to select Dexter, a mammoth interior defensive lineman who left Florida early after being heralded as one of Dan Mullen’s highest-rated signees on the recruiting trail. Dexter joins Torrence (who went a few picks later to Buffalo) and Anthony Richardson as the three Gators to be selected in the first two rounds.
While perhaps Dexter did not quite live up to his billing as the #12 overall prospect in the 2020 recruiting class, he was nonetheless a constant bright spot for a Florida defense that, as far as the end-of-season “yards per game allowed” statistic goes, suffered its worst three-year stretch since at least World War II (records before then are fuzzy). The Florida defense finished 83rd in that category in 2020, 38th in 2021, and then 102nd in 2022. And the Gators largely have Gervon Dexter and Ventrell Miller (who should be hearing his name called on Saturday) to thank for the fact that those numbers weren’t even worse.
No sooner had Gervon Dexter checked into his first college football game as a true freshman against Ole Miss in 2020 than he snagged a batted ball out of the air for an interception. His rare blend of strength, speed, agility, and instincts for a defensive tackle made him a player that every opponent had to be aware of from from the get-go. As a sophomore in 2021, he stepped into a larger role and quickly became the player that opponents had to game plan away from.
In 2021 and 2022, Dexter logged a combined 105 tackles, 8 TFLs, and 4.5 sacks from his defensive tackle slot. Additionally, Pro Football Focus also credits him with 32 QB hurries in those two years. Butt the impact that Gervon Dexter had was felt beyond just the stat sheet.
Any time the Florida defense had a running play stopped, Dexter was a part of it. His speed and strength alone made him very difficult for opposing linemen to contain him, and as he developed better hand placement as his career progressed, it got to the point where he could destroy a play’s entire blocking scheme by himself. He also had a knack for timing up snap counts and blowing up running plays before the offensive line could even fire out of their stance, and as an added bonus, his speed gives him a good chance to track down players from behind- potentially even QBs in a scramble drill.
His technique could probably use some work in the NFL if he’s going to win one-on-ones against NFL centers and offensive guards, but that’s what NFL coaching staffs are for; you can’t teach the natural talent that Dexter has, you can only draft it. Pair that talent with some technical improvements, and Gervon Dexter can likely play in the league as long as he’d like to.
Thanks for giving your all for the Florida Gators these past three years, Gervon. See you on Sundays.