The New York Giants have a bevy of needs all over their roster heading into 2023. They have obvious needs at wide receiver, linebacker, and the interior offensive line, and could also use more help at edge defender and cornerback.
The Giants also have an under-the-radar need on the interior defensive line. It isn’t as pressing as some other positions, but they need additional depth behind Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams — not to mention more protection for their linebackers.
Florida defensive tackle Gervon Dexter Sr. has an uncommon blend of size, athleticism, and power. He can play a huge variety of alignments along the defensive front and can both defend the run and disrupt quarterbacks. He’s still only a red-shirt sophomore and needs further development, but his upside is plain to see.
Could the Giants be the team to unlock that upside?
Prospect: Gervon Dexter Sr. (9)
Games Watched: vs. Alabama (2021), vs. Utah (2022), vs. Kentucky (2022), vs. Tennessee (2022)
Weight: 303 pounds
Games Played: 36
Tackles for a loss: 10.5
Passes defensed: 2
Games Played: 13
Tackles for a loss: 4.0
Passes defensed: 1
Best: Length, athleticism, power, competitive toughness, run defense, versatility
Worst: Explosiveness, snap timing, consistency
Projection: A rotational defensive linemen with scheme and alignment versatility.
Florida’s Gervon Dexter Sr. has a good blend of size, power, athleticism, and competitive toughness to play on the defensive line at the NFL level.
Dexter has a prototypical build for a one-gapping defensive tackle at 6-foot-6, 303 pounds (school measurements). He carries his mass very well with an athletic build and very little “sloppy” mass. That is helped by his obvious length, though he has enough lower body flexibility to still be able to play with good pad level despite his height.
Dexter is a very versatile defensive tackle and played all over the Florida defensive line, from 7-technique defensive end to 0-technique nose tackle. He has enough quickness, agility and athleticism to threaten offenses as a one-gap penetrating 5-technique or 3-technique. Dexter also has the play strength to hold up in the run game or occasional double team.
Power is Dexter’s calling card, and his play strength is evident in every phase of his game. In particular, his ability to put offensive linemen on roller skates and driving them into the backfield as a pass rusher. He flashes good hand placement to take inside leverage, as well as the hip and pad level to get under blockers’ pads to maximize his play strength. He also has very active hands and is able to use them to discard blockers to make plays on ball carriers.
Dexter has great competitive toughness and is willing to fight multiple blockers or give great effort in pursuit. He’s also a tone setter on the Florida defense and plays with a pronounced nasty streak.
Dexter is tremendously powerful and capable of controlling double-teams. However, he shouldn’t be asked to do so regularly. He’s tall and lacks mass compared to typical “block eating” defensive linemen, and can be moved off of the line of scrimmage if he doesn’t play with perfect leverage.
While Dexter is capable of being a disruptive force behind the line of scrimmage, he’s held back by a poor first step. He seems to struggle to accurately time the snap, and there’s often a noticeable pause between the snap of the ball and when Dexter begins his rush. Dexter also shows some slight inefficiencies in his rushes, either letting his hips rise or losing some energy to wasted motion when driving forward. Between that and his inconsistent snap timing, Dexter is often the last player to get moving on the Florida defense.
Overall Grade: 7.0
Gervon Dexter Sr. projects as an important rotational defensive lineman in a one-gap defense at the NFL level.
He has an impressive athletic profile and the versatility to play in just about any defensive scheme employed at the NFL level. Because of that, his upside is likely highest in a “multiple” defense that will use the full breadth of his skill set, as opposed to playing him at just one or two alignments in a traditional 4-3 or 3-4 front.
Dexter is a tantalizing prospect who has a frustrating habit of leaving you wanting more. He has obvious athleticism and impressive power when engaged with blockers. He is capable of sending offensive linemen reeling or driving them right back into quarterbacks’ laps. However, he also has a poor first step and get-off, and is obviously slow off the snap. His length, power, and athleticism allowed him to compensate at the collegiate level, but NFL caliber offensive linemen will exploit the gap between snap and motion.
If Dexter can improve his snap anticipation and more efficiently drive out of his stance, he has the potential to become a defensive lineman to be feared at the NFL level. That upside will get him drafted relatively highly, and coaches will certainly like the fire he shows during games. Even if Dexter isn’t able to develop into a more explosive (and consistent) disruptor, he still has a relatively high floor as a rotational player who can come on in a variety of situations.