Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2

Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2
April 29, 2011, 11:55 pm
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Friday, April 29, 2011
Posted: 6:51 p.m. Updated: 7:25 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

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A 'strong' pick for the D-line

This time the trade of their fourth-round pick went through for the Bears as they moved up in the draft to grab Oregon State strongman Stephen Paea with the 53rd pick of the draft, No. 21 of the second round.

It was that fourth-round pick that the Bears stumbled in trying to deal with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night to move up in Round 1. The deal broke down when the Bears did not get a call in to the league properly in time.

This time the call got there in time and the Bears moved up from No. 62 to 53 for a pick that the Washington Redskins had acquired from an earlier trade with the Indianapolis Colts.

The result was a power addition to the defensive line, 6-foot-1, 303-pound Paea, a native of Tonga who projects to replace Tommie Harris as one of the linchpins of the defensive line. The Bears addressed their two primary needs, offensive and defensive line, with their first two selections.

We feel in the first two picks of the draft, we strengthened ourselves in the trenches, said player personnel director Tim Ruskell. We feel that hes capable of doing both. Hes a guy whos very strong and very quick. Hes a high-motor player.

Paea set an NFL combine record when he bench-pressed the standard 225 pounds a very un-standard 49 times. But it was his versatility and quickness pushed him ahead of a player like North Carolinas Marvin Austin in the Bears minds.

It was kind of a no-brainer for us, Ruskell said.

Happy camper

Paea will get looks at both tackle spots but he sees himself as potentially the three-technique that Harris was for some very productive years.

Oregon State played a similar defensive scheme as the Bears and it takes one team to love me and I feel like the Chicago Bears are the right team for me, Paea said. Im blessed.

He suffered a knee injury at the Senior Bowl but described himself as 100 percent. He said he can play both nose and three-technique but projects himself as potentially more effective at the three-technique.

His role model as a player is Minnesota tackle John Randle, a Hall of Famer as a three-technique with an ability to rush the passer good enough to post 10 or more sacks in 10 straight seasons and 137.5 for his career. If Paea achieves anything close to what Randle did, the Bears will be ecstatic.

However long it takes me to get to his level, thats what I want to be in the future, Paea said.
Athletic background

Paea came to the United States as a teenager, two years after his mother moved to this country to begin working. His early sports background was primarily in rugby, which gave him some skills that transferred nicely to football.

I think rugby helped a lot, Paea said. To myself, I'm able to stay low, and you need a lot of energy for rugby. You're running at a specific way and a specific time. You could also say the same in football. So I feel like that has helped me transition easier to football.

If you're in the middle of a rugby scrum, you're getting crushed from all the force behind you. You've got to be strong in there.

Breaking right

When the draft passed No. 50, Paea came within range for the Bears. And when the New York Giants took North Carolinas Marvin Austin at No. 52, the Bears made their move.

Before that, the second round started going the Bears way early, with multiple picks at positions the Bears were not looking to address.

Two quarterbacks (Andy Dalton to Cincinnati, Colin Kaepernick to San Francisco) went in the first four picks of day two. Three linebackers went in the first 10. Two tight ends went in the span of five picks beginning with Minnesota at No. 11 of the round, 43rd overall.

With the Bears already having Gabe Carimi in the fold, they were not disappointed to that three offensive tackles went in the space of four picks beginning with Miamis Orlando Franklin at No. 46 overall to Denver.

The only defensive tackle taken through the first 19 picks of the second round was Clemsons Jarvis Jenkins, a 310-pounder more suited to nose tackle rather than the three-technique that the Bears were after.

Stay with CSNChicago.com for the latest on this developing story and all the happenings from Halas Hall from Bears Insider John "Moon" Mullin.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.