Minnesota Golden Gophers
Wt: 199 lbs
Hometown: Valencia, CA
40 Yd Dash: 4.47 seconds (2nd among all safeties tested)
Bench Press: 25 reps (1st)
3 Cone Drill: 6.9 seconds (2nd)
20 Yd Shuttle: 4.07 seconds (2nd)
Vertical: 34 inches (10th)
Broad Jump: 117 inches (10th)
- 36 career starts in four seasons playing safety and corner
- As a senior in 2013 named 1st Team All-Big Ten by the Coaches/Honorable Mention Media
- Academic All-Big Ten as a Communications Major
- His dad Henry played at UNLV, was a ninth round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1979 (Creamsicles!), and played professionally in the Canadian Football League.
- Brother Shane is a running back for the New England Patriots.
- Hopefully has a long pro career ahead of him, but will have a future in broadcasting whenever he wants it. Made regular appearances on local "sports" station KFAN's morning show during his Gopher career and made it sound easy.
Thanks to an outstanding combine performance back in February (which honestly seems like about 85 years ago. Could the draft process get any longer? Wait don't answer that, as we don't want to give the Commish any more ideas), Vereen has shot up draft boards and become a hot prospect. A borderline late round pick before his senior season and a likely mid-late round guy after a strong senior campaign, Vereen's impressive combine numbers made draftniks look a little closer, and what they're seeing and saying now is he could be taken in the second or third round.
If you're worried Vereen is another Mike Mamula who only performs well in workouts in gym shorts (or Under Armor spandex. Either or) but will be a draft-day bust don't- Brock is going to make whomever drafts him very, very happy. He was a vital and versatile piece of an improving Minnesota defense in his four years in Maroon and Gold, and all the combine workouts did was force people to go back to look at his tape and see that his performance, intelligence, leadership and play on the field backed up his jump-off-the-page (or computer screen. Or mobile device. You get the idea) athletic testing results.
As good an athlete and player as he is, what makes Vereen so intruiging at the next level is his intelligence and work ethic, as he happens to have both in spades. He adapted seamlessly to playing both safety and corner at Minnesota, and that experience as a corner having to cover the best receivers in the Big Ten and not just slot guys, tight ends or running backs like most safeties will serve him well. He also played the run well at both spots, and well he's not a linebacker-like thumper, Gopher fans never worried about him helping against the run.
The only negatives about him seem to be size, and stuff like short arms and small hands. He's definitely built more like a corner than your prototypical NFL safety, but he was always pretty good against the run. And yes, fine, he didn't have many interceptions in his career. I'm not smart enough to know how much of his lack of picks was not being able to get to the ball or how much was just part of the scheme and what he was asked to do, but he was always good in coverage and made plays on the ball. As a fan who watched him for four years, I never saw him in coverage and thought "Oh no, Brock's not going to be able to cover this guy." Maybe he's not a ball hawk but he's not a liability in coverage either.
Finally, while I know this matters little in the NFL world of wins and losses, by all accounts Vereen is just a good dude. A great teammate and great person with a passion for the game and a work ethic to do what he has to in order to succeed, he'll be a welcome addition to any team. While his size and collegiate numbers may not wow you, Vereen has the athletic ability, intelligence, and work ethic to succeed as a safety in the NFL. We at TDG wish him the best of luck in what is hopefully a long and successful pro career.