Former Gophers defensive back Brock Vereen was picked in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Bears. But his NFL journey, which included 19 career games played and ended when he was released by Kansas City in 2016, really began the minute the Gophers lost to Syracuse in the Texas Bowl several months before he was drafted.
Vereen described that draft process — including the NFL combine, which would be going on right now during a normal year — on Thursday's Daily Delivery podcast.
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Here were a few of the best moments from that interview with Vereen, who has worked in sports broadcasting and helped start an eSports TV company since his playing days ended:
*On getting to know players from other schools through the process leading up to the draft when players gather through their agencies to work out: "For me, there was HaHa Clinton-Dix, who of course went to Green Bay, and getting close with him in film study, seeing how he saw this (certain) play. ... It's a constant education. And there's the college atmosphere of we're all living in the same building. ... It's the first introduction to, 'Hey, you went to Wisconsin, but you're actually a pretty cool guy and now I'm cool with your brother.' It's such a whirlwind, and the only regret is I wish I enjoyed it more."
*On the scouting combine and how draining it is: "What the combine is: How can you perform under the most pressure, the most eyeballs, with the least amount of sleep you've ever had. We see, as fans on TV, the combine as a one-day thing over a couple hours running around Lucas Oil Stadium. But you're there for three days. From the second you land at the airport, you have eyeballs on you. ... If you get a random guy coming up to you, and he asks you a random question like directions to a terminal, he's a scout. ... And once you get to the facility, it's so eerie. It's like high school in a way. Picture being a freshman walking into high school for the first time, terrified but pretending to be confident at the same time because you don't want to look like you're terrified."
*On meeting with the Patriots: "No shocker, if you meet with the Patriots, they're going to ask you the toughest questions ever. They don't care about your highlights. You're going to go in a room and on the projector they are going to put the five worst plays you've ever had. The time you got run over. The time you fell on a double move."
*On the feeling after getting drafted when you are in an NFL camp as a rookie: "Every time you feel yourself nervous or getting worried, it's like, 'This is what I wanted. Why would I waste my time being terrified all day long?' You shake that immediately. ... But it's an increased amount of pressure and understanding this is a business. Any job, from the second you get hired, it's the recruiter's job to go find your replacement. It's the same in college. Quite honestly it's the same in high school these days. Once we have you under contract or in our jersey, our job is now to find a better version of you. And that is in your head throughout your tenure."
*On being at peace with giving up the game: "It's one of those things where you feel like you would wake up and be like, 'I have two years left' or 'I have one year left and then I'm done' but it wasn't like that for me. I woke up and I said, 'I think I'm done with this'. I called my mom and called my brother (Shane) who was with the Giants at the time. The biggest fear you have is wow, all these people who have helped me get to this point, I let them down. But it's not that."
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