Mandatory minicamps are underway across the NFL. This means that all players on a team's roster get their chance to prove themselves before training camps start late July.
They better make the best out of every drill and every snap because by late August – not even three months away –, each team has to start making its roster cuts. Until then, players have to secure their spots on the team; they need to do their jobs (well) or someone else will.
Over the course of the next few weeks, we will take a look at the men fighting for those spots on the 2016 New England Patriots. Today, we'll take a look at defensive back Brock Vereen.
Name: Brock Vereen
Position: Free safety
Jersey number: 25
Size: 5'11, 200 lbs.
2015 review: Despite being a fourth round draft pick one year earlier, and even though he had a successful rookie season with the team, Brock Vereen's time with the Chicago Bears ended after only three weeks of the 2015 season had passed. The Bears, led by a new coaching staff, opted to release Vereen in late September.
He went unclaimed on waivers and subsequently signed with the Minnesota Vikings' practice squad, on which he spent the next six weeks. After the Vikings waived Vereen, he was signed to the Patriots' practice squad. The team signed him to a futures contract after its season ended.
Overall, Vereen appeared in three games in his second NFL season and did not register any stats. But while played only four snaps on defense, he was a core special teamer for the Bears.
2016 preview: Vereen's most important quality is his versatility. Not only has he played almost 500 snaps at safety over the course of his professional career, he has also seen time as a nickel slot cornerback and of course on special teams (he was used as a gunner during the Patriots's OTAs earlier this year). The more he is able and willing to do, the better his chances of staying in Foxboro.
And while the odds of Vereen ultimately making the Patriots' 53-man roster are slim due to the team's depth, talent and youth across the secondary, he could very well find himself a spot on New England's practice squad. The 23-year old still needs a good summer, though, in order to earn enough playing time to properly showcase his potential worth.
While Brock Vereen may not be able to get a spot on a very deep New England roster, he looks like a solid candidate for the team's practice squad. After all, he brings versatility and experience to the table and has the makings of a solid backup player when needed to be.