Third in a series
Who’s in: Ryan Mundy, Antrel Rolle
Where do they fit? Brock Vereen
The Bears spent a fifth-round pick in the 2015 draft to move up into the 2014 fourth round and select Brock Vereen. Vereen was able to log some time in the starting lineup last year because of injuries to Chris Conte, but he starts this offseason behind veterans Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy and will be pressed to earn snaps in his second season.
Mundy led the Bears in tackles last season, was a teammate of Rolle’s for a season with the New York Giants, and was among the few steady performers in an abysmal 2015 Bears defense. Rolle joins his third NFL team with a coach eager for what he brings to the locker room as well as the secondary.
“I think he’s been one of the more productive safeties in the league over the last few years,” said coach John Fox. “I think he understands the game. I think he plays the game fast. I think he understands how to prepare for NFL football games. I think that is contagious. I think when younger players see that model they help us as a football team.”
Conte is gone, to Lovie Smith and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Danny McCray took the free safety job from Vereen early in training camp last year, then struggled and eventually lost out to Conte, but did have a 10-tackle game in the Bears’ win over the New York Jets.
But the signing of Rolle at age 32 was an indicator of what coach and GM thought about the state of the deep secondary.
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“Not beating up guys we have, but going in and looking at tape and seeing areas we maybe need improvement, it might just be doing it every day better,” Fox said of how it improves. “And then you play better. But I’ve really thought that Antrel Rolle would help that process.”