Vereen Brings Versatility and Dependability........

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by soulman, May 15, 2014.

  1. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    Bears rookie safety Brock Vereen brings reliability, discipline

    Former Minnesota player known more for sound fundamentals than flashy highlights






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    [​IMG]
    Minnesota's Brock Vereen celebrates after intercepting a pass in the second half against Iowa. (Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports / September 28, 2013)
    By Dan Wiederer, Tribune reporter
    May 15, 2014

    The Brock Vereen college highlight reel isn't exactly of the viral variety. There are no leaping, one-handed interceptions and few crushing, open-field hits.

    The rookie safety, now a Bear after last weekend's NFL draft, has never been the prototypical wow player, a back-end dynamo in the mold of Troy Polamalu or Earl Thomas. But watch enough footage from Vereen's career at Minnesota and he'll surface, more often than not, exactly where he's supposed to be.
    Disciplined with assignments, fundamentally strong in his technique, Vereen is reliable in coverage and a sure tackler.

    Over the past three seasons, Golden Gophers defensive backs coach Jay Sawvel came to appreciate Vereen's subtle brilliance.

    "Brock isn't dynamic, but he's consistent," Sawvel said. "Pretty much every game, you're going to get the same thing from Brock Vereen as what you got the week before. And there's a lot to be said in the NFL, and at any level of football, for a guy who's that consistent."

    What the Bears have, Sawvel said, is a player with "an all-around solidness," an eager learner with obvious football intelligence.

    And then there's his unselfishness. Because the Gophers had injuries and poor play at cornerback last fall, Vereen accepted a position change in the middle of his senior year. No gripes included. So it's easier to understand why Bears general manager Phil Emery ordered a trade early on the draft's final day to move up and nab Vereen in Round 4.

    Emery noted Vereen's starting experience at both corner and safety and his ability to match up with different kinds of athletes. He also mentioned Vereen's "reactive anticipation" in coverage. "Kind of like a center fielder in terms of breaking on the crack of the bat," Emery said. "He's good in coverage in terms of anticipating cuts and mirroring receivers, staying with receivers through their cuts. (He's) good in terms of his angles and his fits against the run."

    Vereen's quest to climb the depth chart will begin Friday, when a three-day rookie camp gets underway. His rungs up the ladder, Emery believes, will include his toughness and instincts.

    That's not to say Vereen's game is without holes. And the Bears' recent track record in drafting long-term answers at safety has been spotty. Brandon Hardin, Al Afalava, Kevin Payne, Chris Conte and Major Wright all hit significant bumps in the road.

    So to earn the trust of defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, Vereen will have to improve his ball skills while showing he can compete with bigger, more athletic receivers despite his ordinary size (6 feet, 199 pounds) and modest length (30-inch arms).

    "Timing is everything," Vereen said. "With some of those bigger guys, the more film study you can do on them to get any advantage to use as far as their timing and how they like to use their body, then you can play big with them."

    Vereen's contact with the Bears during the pre-draft process was far from extensive. Not long before the draft, defensive assistant Chris Harris visited Vereen's high school in California. The two watched film and discussed defensive concepts on the white board. "It was a very positive meeting," Vereen said. "I guess he felt the same way."

    With the Bears low on proven commodities in a safety group that includes Conte, Ryan Mundy, M.D. Jennings and Craig Steltz, there's certainly an opening for Vereen to emerge. Sawvel believes the Bears will quickly value their new safety's dependability.

    "If he gets beat on a play, he's going to be there; you're just going to have to beat him on that play," Sawvel said. "That was a very big relief as a coach. I'd go to bed every Friday night and could put my head on the pillow knowing what we were getting from Brock Vereen the next day."

    dwiederer@tribune.com
    Twitter @danwiederer

    Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC
  2. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again. He is my pick to shock people this year. I think he will make a serious run at one of the starting safety spots and may win it. If he does bounce out a vet (like how Mills did last year) IMO it means he is truly showing more ability and dependability at the position. He doesn't have to be Ed Reed (nor does anyone on this unit) he just has to make the plays when they are there, and not become a liability. That goes for whoever our two starting S are.
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  3. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I agree. What caught my eye was that last paragraph by his coach. You know the guy is gonna be there and do his job. If we got little more than that out of our last line of defense I'd be happy. Somebody on the back end who can prevent the big play and that sounds like what we got. I don't care if he makes highlight reels and gets ten picks all I care about is that he gets stops.
  4. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    LOL Soul, after last year if he just shows up and does his job, then we will be just fine back there. We don't need him to make plays should he start. We just need him to make the plays that are giftwraped for him and be reliable. We have others to be the playmakers. We won't have to bank that he comes up with a huge turnover or TFL in a key situation.
  5. Papa_Bear_7

    Papa_Bear_7 Veteran

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    Yeah, like most of our picks, the more I read about him the more I like him. I listened to his interview with the morning guys on 670 and he sounds like a good guy. Sounds like he can't wait to hit his brother, also. lol
  6. Grizzblue

    Grizzblue Pro-Bowler

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    I never made that connection to his brother in NE until I saw his tweet. Good petigree never hurts and I'm sure his brother will want to do anything he can to see his little brother do well for himself in the offseason. That being said, I'm sure they will both be trying to get the better of the other if he is on the field week 8.
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  7. soulman

    soulman Pro-Bowler SuperFan DBS Writer

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    I commented on this in another post but Emery seems to have a thing for drafting kids from football families and it may be a very good thing. Kind of an "X Factor" intangible.

    Some have had Dads or Uncles who played in the NFL and with some it's an older brother or a cousin but these kids have had football as a part of their lives for a long time and I believe it makes them a little more well informed and a little more mature when they arrive. I'm impressed by how well they all interview and by their competiveness.
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