LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Shifty rookie slot receiver Daniel Braverman has a chip on his shoulder the size of South Florida.
“I grew up with a chip on my shoulder just from being from South Florida and always having to prove myself on the field,” Braverman said at the Chicago Bears' organized team activities.
Long before the Bears used a seventh-round pick on Braverman, the Miramar, Florida, native often felt overlooked in high school, primarily because of his size.
Even now, Braverman’s 5-foot-10, 177-pound frame raises questions about his ability to compete at the NFL level.
“It’s great talent everywhere in South Florida,” said Braverman, who played at University School in Fort Lauderdale. “Everywhere you look there’s a new five-star, four-star, and I was just the undersized kid who wasn’t that highly profiled. Every game you are playing with at least 10 Division I guys on the field. My team had about like 18 Division I players on one team.
Proving myself is still an everyday process. One of my mottos is 'one day better.' And that’s what I take with me. As soon as I wake up, I got to do something striving towards getting myself better as a football player and as a person.”
Braverman did enough at University School to get a scholarship from Western Michigan, and he became the only player in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2015 to have 100-plus catches, 1,350-plus receiving yards and 13-plus touchdowns.
Braverman’s national coming-out party occurred against Michigan State and Ohio State, where he combined to catch 23 passes for 232 yards and one touchdown.
“I think that played a little bit of a role [in being drafted] because I knew that’s what the scouts and NFL teams were going to look at,” Braverman said. “Knowing that I did well against those teams -- hopefully it showed some teams that I could play at higher level than, I guess, the MAC conference — which is a great conference, but to the outside world people don’t look at it as that. It was fun playing those games.”
Braverman decided to forgo his final year of college eligibility and ultimately landed in Chicago, where he’ll have to compete with Marquess Wilson, Marc Mariani, Deonte Thompson and Josh Bellamy for one of the final roster spots at wide receiver.
Braverman insists he has no regrets over leaving college early, even though another year at Western Michigan might have resulted in better draft positioning in 2017.
“One thing Michael Jordan said, once he makes his decision, he never looks back on it,” Braverman said. “You can’t regret anything. You got to look forward. As the rounds kept passing I was stressing -- I’m not going to lie. But everything happens for a reason and I’m here right now with the Chicago Bears and I’m just trying to take it all in and work as hard as I can.”