LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Gervon Dexter was ready to sprint from the podium last Tuesday. It was new Bears' edge rusher Yannick Ngakoue's first full day at Halas Hall, and the rookie was ready to tap into his newest resource.
"I'm ready to go back there and pick his brain right now," Dexter said.
He wasn't lying.
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Ngakoue is still on a ramp-up plan in practice, but the veteran edge rusher has pulled Dexter aside during team drills to give him pointers and a tutorial on his famous cross-chop move.
“I just see a lot of potential in him," Ngakoue said Monday at Halas Hall. "I see a lot of myself in him as well. His first step is quick, he’s a young guy and I feel like he can be a Day 1 guy that can just affect the quarterback, affect the run game, so I just wanted to share my knowledge with him, and you can always learn stuff from the young guys as well.”
Ngakoue's cross-chop is one of the most-talked-about pass-rush moves in the NFL. Finding a way to arm Dexter with it could help accelerate his rebuild.
“Just working on hand and eye coordination. Just basically working on our steps and he was just asking me, ‘How did I perfect that move and what do I see when I’m throwing that move?’" Ngakoue said. "I was just giving him some nuggets to try to patten his game."
The cross-chop might seem like a move that's easier for edge rushers to utilize than interior defensive linemen, but Ngakoue points to two of the greatest defensive tackle in history who had the move atop their arsenal.
“I wouldn’t say that because you have guys like Aaron Donald who has a great cross-chop," Ngakoue said. "You have guys that came in our past like Warren Sapp had a really good cross-chop. It’s just about allowing that move to be one of your number one arsenals. It just takes time. Repetition, repetition.”
The Bears have big dreams for Dexter. The second-round pick has made consistent progress on changing his stance and improving his get-off.
Dexter will spend all season in the lab. The Bears are playing the long game with the Florida product. They believe he can be effective in a role this fall while building toward becoming the dominant three-technique they saw in flashes on film in college.
Armed with Ngakoue's help, Dexter just might be able to ascend quicker than expected.
Class is in session at Halas Hall, and Ngakoue plans to hold office hours whenever a lesson is needed.