We had so much fun doing our Countdown to Kickoff series last season that we decided to do it again. In case you’re new to the series, we’ll do a roster preview as we count down the days until the Chicago Bears September 7th season opener against the Buffalo Bills.
With the 131st overall pick in this year’s draft, the Bears selected Safety – Brock Vereen from the University of Minnesota. Like the “Hit-Man” Gary Fencik of the 1985 Super Bowl champs, Vereen will be wearing #45, indicating 45 days until the Chicago Bears season opener!
Most believe that the safety position was the biggest need in this year’s draft and we heard names like Pryor, Dix and Ward possibly on the radar of Phil Emery to fill the void. However, Emery waited until the 4th round and believes that he has helped fill that void with the 6’0” 199 lb. Vereen. Scouts have criticized Vereen’s tackling ability as well as having suspect hands, having only 4 career interceptions at Minnesota. Fortunately for Vereen, scouting reports don’t make or break your career. On the flip side, he’s very smart, motivated and is a great team player with a strong passion to improve. He has been praised for his work ethic and one scout was quoted by saying that he had better zone awareness and route recognition compared to some of the top safeties in this draft. Those are keys to success at the free safety position. If he can sure up his tackling, he can be a solid starter and win the job at free safety.
A factor that cannot be ignored is the bloodline connected to Vereen. His brother, Shane, plays for the Patriots and his father Henry, was drafted years ago by the Buccaneers. Many believe that Vereen will beat out Chris Conte for the starting free safety position, and I’m one of those many. Conte, who was just added to the preseason PUP list, is nursing a shoulder injury which may open the door for the young Vereen to take over as your #1 free safety on the depth chart. Vereen will also have some competition with free agent acquisition M.D. Jennings. However, Vereen has the upside and pedigree to be a solid starter and I believe that come September 7th, we will see Vereen line up with the starters.
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th. We’re 45 days from kickoff. Are you ready???