BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – The depth chart won’t mean much for some weeks to come, but Wednesday’s practice saw rookie Brock Vereen, the No. 1 free safety through most of this offseason since his selection in the fourth round of the draft and into training camp, with the No. 2 defense and veteran Danny McCray moved up with the first string.
The demotion did not have Vereen pouting.
“In my mind I’m still a rookie and need to prove that I belong on the 53-man roster,” Vereen said. “I can’t even worry about starting or not starting. I need to prove I’m worthy of being on this team.”
Vereen’s play has been solid but he was clear that he has adjustments still to be made for him. And the move was not solely a faulting of Vereen.
McCray has repeatedly stood out in coverage and run support.
“He’s been practicing well,” said coach Marc Trestman. “We’ve said all along the safety position is wide open and we wanted to take a look at him with the first group today. We talked a lot about it yesterday.
“I don’t think you should take any one day and start making decisions on who is playing that position, other than certainly the guys that we all know. But the safety position is wide open and Danny has worked to an extent that he gets a chance to get some work there so that’s what we did today.”
McCray, 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, was an undrafted free agent out of LSU who made the Dallas Cowboys in 2010. His primary work has been on special teams but he started 10 games for Dallas in 2012.
“His effort level has been very high,” Trestman said. “He’s a highly intelligent football player. He’s played consistently and continued to ascend over the last few days and we wanted to get a look at him with the ones. That’s what we did today and we’ll see what the tape shows.”