The rookie defensive tackles are also playing in their first unofficial NFL Game.
Ryan Poles passed on drafting Jalen Carter in the first round. Carter was considered to be the best defensive tackle and player in the draft. Character concerns scared off teams like the Chicago Bears.
Defensive tackle is considered the engine of Matt Eberflus’ defense. Last year’s defensive tackle group outside of Justin Jones was so bad none of them are on the team. Jones is in the final year of his two-year deal and Andrew Billings was signed to a one-year contract to start opposite him.
The possible long-term starters were taken in the draft when Poles selected Gervon Dexter Sr. in the second round and Zacch Pickens in the third round.
Rookie defensive tackles tend to struggle in the first season. Although, Dexter is having an impressive camp.
Dexter still needs to get better at his initial burst off the line. He was asked to read the play at Florida before deciding to rush the passer. In Eberflus’ defense, Gervon is being tasked with blasting off the line and getting at the quarterback.
Pickens is having a quiet camp, so this game gives me a chance to make some noise.
Eberflus does want more of a pass rush from up the middle, especially since the edge rushing group is weak. Although Yannick Ngakoue’s addition does give the Bears a legitimate rush off the edge.
Wanting an interior rush is a good thing, but getting one is another story. A rush coming right at the quarterback’s face is the best way to make a QB uncomfortable.
The hope is Dexter and Pickens can make quarterbacks miserable for years to come. It would be great if Dexter Sr. develops into a game-wrecking three-technique defensive tackle. Pickens is being asked to man the nose tackle spot.
The scheme the Bears run depends on a three-tech tackle blowing up a play. First, let’s see if both can get that needed burst off the line in the preseason.