Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2

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Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2

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.

NFL Scouting Combine represents opportunities — good and bad — for Bears

NFL Scouting Combine represents opportunities — good and bad — for Bears

The NFL Scouting Combine convening this week in Indianapolis isn't really the high point of pre-draft assessing being done by NFL teams. Those evaluations have been going on for many, many months — on college campuses, at bowl games — and will go on with Pro Days and selected visits to team headquarters.
 
But what it does represent is two things: a chance for teams to probe for detailed medical information on some 300 potential draftees, and a case study in savvy brand marketing by the NFL that has become its own hot-stove league on steroids (hopefully not literally for any of the participants).
 
Covering the event 25 years ago, representatives of the three Chicago-area newspapers comprised one of the two largest media contingents (the other being New York's) going about the business of football reporting after the sport had largely moved off the sports-front with the wrap-up of the Super Bowl. No TV, no internet, and the Combine operators really didn't want media around for what was set up as a purely team-centric.
 
Now the NFL has created a media event that keeps it in news prominence at what had always been a dormant calendar nadir for pro football, with not only some 1,000 media members and outlets welcome, but also with fans able to attend events like the 225-pound bench press and 40-yard dashes, whose results were once something that reporters dug around for as news scoops.
 
But beyond the observed events, including group media interviews for the majority of athletes, individual draft stocks will be affected by vertical jumps, cone drills and such. And by interviews with individual teams, which are still private. (For now. Somehow, it's not beyond imagination that someday even those will be televised, in an NFL guise of "transparency" or something, but that's for another time.)
 
Strengths, weaknesses and the QB conundrum
 
One annual refrain are the assessments of the overall draft class, what positions are its deepest, its weakest, an evaluation that carries some weight because invitees to the Combine include underclassmen, which the Senior Bowl does not.
 
But a danger within the process is exactly that — the "weight" assigned to results, particularly the on-field ones. On-field evaluations are the best indicators, but the right on-field ones were there on playing fields and now tape, not inside Lucas Oil Stadium this week.

[RELATED - Which direction will Bears go at pick No. 3?]
 
Combine performance has affected drafts rightly and wrongly over the years.
 
ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio has made an excellent case for players declining that test for reasons of confidentiality. And frankly, if teams have a problem with a player declining the test, then teams and the NFL need to do a better job of keeping the results in-house, particularly given that correlations between the Wonderlic and NFL success are questionable at best.
 
But some player or players will move up or slip down on draft boards because of drill work. That may be unfortunate for the player, and for the teams.
 
QB or not QB
 
It is at this point that the Combine becomes increasingly relevant to the Bears, or at least to those trying to discern what realistic chances exist for the Bears to address their well-documented areas of need (quarterback, tight end, cornerback, safety).
 
An inherent problem at this stage is the difficulty in arriving at a right decision, particularly at the paramount position. NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock did some checking that illustrates the issue.
 
Between 2007-14, teams selected 21 quarterbacks in the first round. Nine of them are no longer even in the league, and only a handful have achieved something close to the coveted "franchise" distinction: Matt Ryan in Atlanta, Matthew Stafford in Detroit, Carolina's Cam Newton, Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and Joe Flacco in Baltimore. Only Flacco has won a Super Bowl.
 
"It gives a pretty good feel for the 'hit' rate of franchise quarterbacks in the first round," Mayock said on Monday.
 
"My message to NFL teams is, 'you've got to keep trying, keep on swinging.'"
 
Whether the Bears take a swing at a franchise quarterback at No. 3 is still many weeks off. But Mayock didn't endorse making that swing at that point.
 
"I don't have any quarterbacks anywhere near the Top 10," Mayock said. "That doesn't mean I think there's no talent there, because I think there are four quarterbacks that have first-round talent. In my order I had for my initial Top 5, it was [DeShone] Kizer, [Deshaun] Watson, [Mitch] Trubisky, [Patrick] Mahomes. All four of them have holes in their games.
 
"I don't think any of them are ready to start Week 1."
 
More to come over the next week. Make that "weeks."

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bears will not use franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Bears will not use franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery

In this episode of the SportsTalk Live Podcast David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Nick Friedell (ESPNChicago.com) and Danny Parkins (670 The Score) join David Kaplan on the panel.

NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports that the Bears will not use the franchise tag on Alshon Jeffery for the second straight year. Is that the right move? And what will Ryan Pace do with all of his team’s cap space?

The Bulls are winning but their new, young point guard doesn’t know his role. Will anything ever change with the Bulls?

That plus Scott Paddock drops by to recapping a thrilling Daytona 500 finish.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: