Chicago Bears – 2014 Draft Recap

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Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Round 4: S Brock Vereen, Minnesota (5’11, 199) – Grade C

There is a lot to like about Brock Vereen. He was a team captain, plays with max-effort all the time, has good instincts in coverage, he’s fast (4.47), strong (25 reps), and is a willing tackler against the run. By all reports he’s also a great guy off the field. So why a C? I want a safety that NFL receivers worry about when they cross the middle or a safety who is a play-maker that can change the game with a big interception or forced fumble. I don’t think Vereen is ever going to be either of those guys. I think he is going to be solid in coverage in nickle and dime packages and maybe as a slot corner though the Bears are deep there now with Frey and Fuller. I also think Vereen could be a Pro Bowl caliber gunner on special teams. What I don’t think is that he’s a starting caliber free safety in the NFL. To me Vereen projects as a solid back-up safety, a valuable sub-packages guy, and an asset on special teams. That is decent value in the 4th round, but there were other safety options available at this point in the draft like Ed Reynolds (Phi), Dante Exum (Min), and Jonathan Dowling (Oak) who have more upside and the potential to be quality NFL starters at free safety.

Don’t get me wrong, Vereen can be an important part of the Bears defense and could push both Conte and Jennings for the starting free safety spot (because they aren’t good). He runs very well (4.47) and his instincts in coverage keep him around the ball. Vereen just doesn’t do much once he gets there. He is aggressive in run support and has text book tackling form, but he’s not a big hitter and doesn’t have the size to take on NFL tight ends or the bigger running backs in the league. Vereen also doesn’t have good ball skills. He puts himself in position to make plays, but has short arms (30″), small hands (8.25″), and doesn’t catch the ball well (3 INTs in 3 seasons).

Vereen was projected to be a 6th-7th round pick based on his game tape. Then he came into the combine and wowed scouts with a 4.47 40-time which was the 2nd best 40-time among safeties (behind Terrance Brooks) and he led all safeties on the bench press with 25 reps of 225.  Every year some players get a 2-3 round boost based on how they look in shorts at the combine and it just doesn’t make sense to me. How is a few days of athletic drills more important than a couple of years worth of game tape? I like Vereen as a player but I had him graded as a 6th-7th round pick and would have been happy if the Bears drafted him there or even in the 5th. The fact that the Bears sacrificed two 5th round picks for a limited upside guy like Vereen makes this the Bears worst pick in this year’s draft. I hope I’m wrong because the Bears really need an upgrade at free safety.