LAKE FOREST, IL - MAY 18: Safeties Brock Vereen #45 and Greg Heban #37 of the Chicago Bears work out during rookie minicamp at Halas Hall on May 18, 2014 in Lake Forest, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
With the Chicago Bears’ training camp in Bourbonnais just around the corner, Grizzly Detail is taking a look at some of the new players donning jerseys this season, and in this final edition we take a look at rookie safety Brock Vereen.
The Bears put a premium in May’s NFL Draft on players with experience at both safety and cornerback, and Vereen certainly fits that profile, playing both positions at the University of Minnesota. In the 2012 season, he racked up 33 solo tackles for the Gophers, and also picked up an interception. He followed that up with an even better 2013 season, with 41 solo tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
What the Bears Hope He Will Bring:
Not known as a great hitter or a ball hawk, Vereen has to make due with being a disciplined and smart player. He diagnoses plays very well and is a sure-handed tackler, and the Bears are confident enough in that part of his game that they’ve been having him take first-team reps during mini-camps. With Chris Conte likely missing the start of camp due to a shoulder injury, Vereen could continue to see snaps at the position next to Ryan Mundy, but the Bears are being cautious not to put too much pressure on him to start with.
Ultimately, even if Vereen doesn’t crack the Week 1 starting lineup, he is still going to be a big part of the team’s plans. His versatility at corner and safety could come into play if Charles Tillman gets injured or if Kyle Fuller struggles out of the gate, and the team will be quick to use him in situations where they’re facing crucial downs late in games.
Vereen is a player that we were intrigued by in the draft, and it’s going to be interesting to see how quickly the Bears press the issue with giving him regular playing time. He seems to be adjusting well to the NFL game when it comes to being able to keep up with the speed of practices (and Marc Trestman makes sure to keep his foot on the gas in practice to simulate the game experience), and if Conte ends up missing early practices, Vereen is going to get a lot of looks in Bourbonnais.
His ball-skills do need work, and he’s never going to be the most dynamic guy on the field, but his disciplined approach and ability to read plays is going to come in handy if he earns the starting job out of camp. Whether he does that or not remains to be seen, but he’s off to a good start with the organization.