The Bears on Friday bolstered their defense by choosing Florida defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr. with the 53rd pick in the second round of the draft.
The 6-6, 312-pounder appeared in 36 games with 24 starts over three seasons with the Gators, registering 125 tackles, 10.5 tackles-for-loss, 5.0 sacks and two interceptions. Last season Dexter started all 13 contests, compiling a career-high 55 tackles, 4.0 tackles-for-loss, 2.0 sacks and one interception.
Dexter is eager to join a Bears defense that followed his selection by drafting Miami cornerback Tyrique Stevenson three picks later and South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens in the third round.
"I think I can bring that versatility," Dexter said during a Zoom call with the Chicago media. "And wherever my plays may be, I'm going to contribute that way, and I'll do it to my 100%. Whichever way, I'm looking to compete, looking to get better and win some games, for sure."
Dexter played the three-technique position at Florida, an integral spot in the Bears defense under coach Matt Eberflus and defensive coordinator Alan Williams.
"You can win your one-one-ones there," Dexter said. "I love being on an island with just you and that guard and being in there as well at the zero, the shade; I'm pretty comfortable with them all.
"I'm that guy who can get going and cause havoc and work the game. That's definitely how I would describe myself."
Dexter was among 30 prospects who visited the Bears at Halas Hall during the pre-draft process.
"It was great," he said. "It was an unbelievable experience. I left there loving it. It was a great experience to see and meet everyone. I loved the 30 visit."
Dexter didn't play football at Wales Senior High School in Florida until his final two years because he initially was focused on basketball, playing for the school as well as on a travel team that featured current Toronto Raptors power forward Scottie Barnes.
Dexter was evidently a quick learner; as a senior in 2019, he led the football team to the FHSAA Class 5A regional finals and a 12-1 record and also qualified for the FHSAA Class 2A State Track & Field Championships in the discus.
Asked what led to his decision to concentrate on football instead of basketball, Dexter said: "On the basketball court I was very aggressive, so I was starting to foul out of a lot of games, as well as my physical appearance just didn't kind of meet the requirements for a standard power forward in the game of basketball. I gave football a try and it just came natural to me, and I've just been going since."
With the 53rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Bears select Florida defensive lineman Gervon Dexter Sr.