Seemingly destined for the NFL draft since his high school days, the scouting report of Florida DT Gervon Dexter now takes on added attention in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle. Eligible for the first time and trending up fast, does Dexter have the necessary skill set to challenge for early-round capital?
Gervon Dexter NFL draft profile
Especially in the 2023 NFL Draft class, recruiting pedigree is a guiding quality when seeking out potential blue-chip prospects. Jalen Carter and Bryan Bresee — arguably the two best DT prospects in the class — were both ranked as five-star recruits heading into college. So too was Dexter, and in fact, Dexter was ranked one spot higher than Carter.
Of course, recruiting ranking is far from everything. It’s up to the player to deliver on that promise at the collegiate level, and every career path is different. But so far, while Carter and Bresee have both experienced rapid ascensions, Bresee has been hot on their heels the entire way.
In 2021, Dexter acquired a full-time starting role on the interior, and he flourished during his sophomore campaign. The Florida DT racked up 50 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, a pass deflection, and two fumble recoveries. It’s not quite the 18 sacks and 35 tackles for loss that Dexter achieved as a senior in high school, but it was a big step up.
Interestingly, Dexter’s stats don’t quite do his performance justice. He was a consistent disruptive force for the Gators in both phases. But there’s still room to keep climbing, and Dexter’s ultimate ceiling puts him right where he started — among five-star talent.
- Position: DT
- School: Florida
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 6’6″, 313 pounds
Gervon Dexter scouting report
Bresee and Carter are both viewed as bona fide first-round talents, and many mock drafts have them going off the board near the top. Can Dexter, their recruiting class counterpart, join them in the Round 1 ranks?
At 6’6″, 313 pounds, Dexter is a tall, lean defensive tackle with a compact frame and exceptional length. He can use that superior length to anchor interior blockers and keep himself clean.
With his length, Dexter brings a great first step off the line. He can generate impressive momentum out of his stance, explode into contact, and accelerate with eye-catching abruptness. Off the snap, Dexter can compound his acceleration with long, explosive strides.
Dexter can leverage his length and explosiveness into imposing power generation at the point of attack. The Florida DT is able to use his length and hip rotation in conjunction to generate upper-body torque and force blockers open. He’s also able to shoot his hands and fully extend to exert power. He can sustain leg drive and keep his legs churning while plowing forward on the interior.
Going further, Dexter can load his hands and shove blockers away from his frame with ruthless extensions. He generates torque in short, violent bursts. Moreover, the Florida DT has the strength to latch, lock on, and two-gap if needed. He can stress and wrench down opposing anchors with force. He’s able to rip down anchors while on the move and can tug linemen one way and capitalize on displacement with swift lateral moves.
Dexter’s explosiveness is his most impactful athletic trait, but the Florida DT also has above-average agility. Within his frame, he shows off measured twitch, and he flashes great lateral burst off the snap. The Florida DT has the lateral agility to quickly peel off blocks, close gaps, and match runners in pursuit. Combined, his burst, agility, strength, and power can be difficult to handle.
Not only does Dexter have an abundance of traits, but he’s also shown he can channel those traits with proper leverage. He has very natural knee bend and leverage acquisition for his size. He’s fairly smooth when lowering and surging his pads forward to channel power. Furthermore, Dexter is consistently well-balanced in contact situations. He can flex his upper body and widen his base to absorb power. He’s shown he can hold his ground in run defense with leverage acquisition, length, and lower-body strength.
In a similar vein, Dexter can also build on his traits with hand usage. The Florida DT can extend, replace hands, and shift gaps in rapid succession. He can also replace his hands while sustaining leg drive on the rush. Dexter can execute rip moves to wrench down opposing anchors and brutally extend and then rip outside, surging through lanes with his athleticism. Dexter keeps his hands tight and attacks the torso with powerful strikes, and he can channel his power through extensions and swipes.
Dexter’s hot motor, both as a pass rusher and in pursuit, ties together his game. The Florida DT brings a very strong motor in pursuit and chases plays across the field. He’s an extremely high-energy competitor who can accelerate and hit a second gear when penetrating the pocket. He actively uses his length to reach for the QB and disrupt the passing lane, and he can use his quick acceleration in conjunction with his length to wrap up ball carriers.
Among other things, Dexter has decent flexibility and enough ankle flexion to splice his way around blocks on rips. He also has a degree of alignment versatility. The Florida DT has played everywhere from 3-tech to 0-tech and can make an impact from multiple spots.
Dexter’s areas for improvement
Dexter is occasionally a tick late timing the snap, and he can be more consistent with his reaction quickness. His pads sometimes pop up high later in reps, which can cause power generation to stall out. Dexter has room to get a bit stronger and doesn’t quite have the raw power or strength to take on double-teams consistently.
Going further, while Dexter has decent lateral agility, he doesn’t cover a ton of ground with his lateral explosions. He appears to be more of a linear athlete at times, and he lacks great change of direction in space. The Florida DT appears a bit stiff when he has to divert course. With his taller frame, he plays too high at times. His high-cut frame can be difficult to manage and invites bending at the waist.
As a pass rusher, Dexter can be more consistent with his hand placement and timing, and he can improve at stacking counters. He sometimes appears to lack a pass-rush plan on reps or experiences a slight delay between his first step and engagement. Dexter’s hands don’t always strike cleanly off the initial rush, and he can miss the mark and give up leverage and surface area. Furthermore, Dexter has some wasted motion in his hands. He doesn’t always load and exert and can lack direction at times.
Finally, while Dexter is reasonably flexible, he lacks elite ankle flexion and won’t always be able to find success stunting across alignments.
Current draft projection for Florida DT Gervon Dexter
As of right now, Dexter isn’t quite at the level of Carter or Bresee, but he has comparable physical ability, which will naturally place him in the early-round discussion. Dexter might be more of a Round 2 prospect at this point, but another year of progression can easily land him in the first-round conversation.
Dexter has high-end physical tools. While he doesn’t have the same elite lateral agility that Carter and Bresee have, he’s just as strong. Additionally, Dexter owns a near-elite combination of explosiveness and length, which he can use to generate massive displacement energy off the snap. He’s also flashed violent hands and upper-body torque, and he’s able to extend with force.
Dexter can still strive for greater consistency with hand usage and leverage acquisition. Being as tall and long as he is, he’s naturally going to play too high at times. But all things considered, he sinks his pads well. And if he can continue to hone his talents, he has the combined burst, play strength, power capacity, and motor to be a consistent interior threat.
Without elite lateral agility or flexibility, Dexter likely projects best as an even-front defensive tackle in 3-tech and 2i alignments. Nevertheless, he has more than enough athleticism and strength to move around the front. He’s a potentially scheme-versatile DT prospect with the upside of an impact starter.