Alterraun Verner, UCLA
5’ 11” 180 lbs.
By Scot Acocks
2010 NFL Draft
Strengths: Speed, quickness, height, anticipation, versatility, and intelligence
Weaknesses: Bulk and strength
When sizing up Alterraun Verner he doesn’t appear to be to physically intimidating at first glance, but his career stats are very impressive. He also grabs your attention by what he has done off the field as well as on it.
As a freshman in 2006 Verner made many Freshman All-American teams and was named co-Freshman of the Year for the Pac-10 Conference. Although he was not a starter, he played extensively in the nickel and dime defensive packages and still managed to be fourth on the team in tackles with 59 and returned his only two interceptions for a total of 123 yards and two touchdowns.
The following year, as a sophomore, he made 10 starts and appeared in all 13 games. Again he was fourth on the team in tackles with 75 and also defended 15 passes. He came away with four interceptions and returned one for another touchdown. For his efforts the Pac-10 Conference gave him honorable mention honors.
By his junior year Verner had caught the attention of opponents as well as pro scouts and he did not disappoint while on his way to becoming a second team All-Pac 10 selection. He was second on the team with 73 and only had two interceptions but he led the entire nation in passes defended with 18.
Verner could have come out last year and entered the NFL draft but he chose to stay and play his senior year. He had difficulty matching his stats from the past but he was not slouch and did not disappoint anybody paying attention. In 2009 he ended up a first team All-Pac 10 selection while making 65 tackles, grabbing five interceptions, and returned another one for a touchdown in the first game of the season. It’s worth noting that his teammate, free safety Rahim Moore, led the nation with nine interceptions. Moore may have Verner to thank for many of those as opposing teams were unwilling to consistently throw the ball Verner’s way.
While at UCLA Verner made several All-Academic teams, including first tam Pac-10 Conference All-Academic selection three years in a row! As a senior in 2009 he carried a 3.08 GPA in Mathematics/Applied Sciences.
In high school he did it all on all sides of the ball, playing offense, defense, and returning kicks. He also tutored his teammates in mathematics and history. In the future he would like to use his popularity and achievements to motivate young athletes to be the best that they can be in the classroom.
He appears to run well in pads and looks quick and nimble covering receivers. He needs to keep his hips lower a little more consistently and use leverage against blockers. He’s not an explosive tackler but had enough pop to make the stops in college. He may not fair well making tackles against the likes of NFL running backs, receivers, and tight ends. He may be an ideal nickel back-type of player instead of a fulltime starter. He may have gotten away with too much in college due to his speed and quickness.
Although he has the size and relative strength to find success in the National Football League, Verner could stand to add some bulk and get stronger. His frame is fairly slender and it is a question on some scout’s minds as to whether or not he can hold up physically against bigger receivers and not get severely pounded in the long run. However, he has showed up week in and week out while playing in the NCAA and has not had a history of being injured.
All eyes will be on him when he works out this upcoming off-season. He is expected to run fast and look smooth in drills. A sub 4.4 forty time and 20+ reps on the bench will push him up high on NFL draft boards. At this time projects to be a second round pick in the 2010 draft. That is fine though. Safety Louis Delmas only put up 12 reps on the bench at the combine last year and he has been outstanding in Detroit as a rookie this year.
Overall, he is an intelligent and quick individual with a lot of football experience. He should be able to find a comfortable spot in the NFL.
Career Stats at UCLA:
- 35 Starts
- 194 Solo Tackles
- 78 Assisted Tackles
- 13 Interceptions for 357 yards and four TD’s
- 42 Passes Defended