For the second straight week at OTA’s, Bears rookie safety Brock Vereen found himself in an enviable position-starter. He took all of the first-team snaps alongside Ryan Mundy, another offseason pickup. Chris Conte and Craig Steltz are out with injuries so Vereen is taking full advantage of his opportunity.
“We have a rotation going,” he said after Wednesday’s practice. “And there’s about four or five of us. And when I have the opportunity to do reps with them, I just try to take full advantage of it.”
At Minnesota, Vereen played both safety and cornerback. Though he feels playing both positions helped him understand the complexities of a pro defense, he is glad he just has to worry about one position at the higher level.
“It’s definitely easier, as far as going through the playbook, just focusing on one spot instead of two or three,” he said. “So, hopefully, that will show on the field.
“We had a complex system in college and being able to play two spots has helped me understand the game from a more detailed perspective.”
The hard work Vereen has put in is starting to pay off for Vereen. He is starting to feel more comfortable. “It’s really starting to slow down for me out there. Now I’m able to react rather than to have to think about it.”
Vereen has worked on trying to impress his coaches. “I would hope that effort is the thing that jumps out,” he said. “I’m gonna work hard, and if I make a mistake, it’s gonna be at full speed.”
So far his effort has been noticed. Defensive backs coach Jon Hoke has praised Vereen for his intelligence and communications skills.
Vereen is not flashy. You won’t see acrobatic interceptions or big hits. What you will see is him being at the right place. He is disciplined and reliable. He uses great technique when tackling, and is fundamentally sound in his play. After having two of the worst safeties in football last year, Vereen’s discipline will be a welcome sight.
The Bears’ record in drafting safeties has been spotty. There have been many drafted over the years, and most of them fizzled out. Hopefully, Brock Vereen can be the one draft choice that lasts in Chicago.