Mel Kiper labels Bears pick of Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens as reaches

Kiper labels Bears pick of Dexter, Pickens as reaches originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

On Day 2 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears and general manager Ryan Poles doubled up on defensive lineman.

First, they selected Florida defensive lineman Gervon Dexter with the 53rd overall pick. Then they drafted South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens with the 64th overall pick.

The defensive line was an area of need and one of the reasons many mock drafts had the Bears linked to Georgia's Jalen Carter.

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ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. wasn't in love with the selection of Dexter on television in real-time, and it seems like after sitting on it he doesn't feel better about that pick or the Pickens selection.

RELATED: Why Bears gambled on Gervon Dexter, Zacch Pickens in 2023 NFL Draft

In a column on Saturday, Kiper named Dexter and Pickens in his "questionable picks and reaches" section.

"Dexter was the first prospect drafted who ranked outside my top 100," Kiper wrote. "At 6-foot-6, 310 pounds, he looks the part, and he also tested well at the combine. I didn't love his tape, though. Is he just a run-stuffer? The Bears double up at defensive tackle with Pickens, who has a little more pass-rush upside. Dexter likely will play more as the nose while Pickens can be a penetrator.


"Chicago is building from the trenches, which I get, but the organization passed on elite tackle Jalen Carter in the first round and opted for two reaches on Day 2 who ranked outside the top 10 at the position."

Dexter's slow release on the line of scrimmage was pointed to on the broadcast but Booger McFarland and Louis Riddick each said it'd be up to the head coach to address that.

"The head coach he is going to play for, a former defensive coordinator, is going to demand it," McFarland said. "He has all the traits. He ran a 4.88 in the (40-yard dash). You just don't see that type of get off when he plays.

"He's got to be able to get off the football, because the front they play is put your hand down, jump the football. But he's scheme-versatile, he can play in the 3-4 or 4-3."


And Riddick added: "This is where coaching is going to matter so much. Because that 40 time, when I saw that, I was like no way. No way that's the same guy. It's just a slow, plodding playing style.

"Matt Eberflus and Alan Williams, the defensive coordinator, are going to make all the difference."

Let's hope the Bears can work their magic.

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