Bears select Oregon State DT Paea in Round 2


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

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

John "Moon" Mullin is'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.

Plenty of possibilities loom ahead of Bears' draft pick

Plenty of possibilities loom ahead of Bears' draft pick

As the Bears begin to fill out their draft board in earnest, they’ll do so by evaluating the players they like and the players they think will be available when they pick eighth in April. And what players check both those boxes and go into their draft “clouds,” as Ryan Pace calls them, will depend largely on how many quarterbacks are taken ahead of the Bears’ pick. 

With about a month until the draft, it seems clear two teams will take a quarterback with a top-seven pick: the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets. The Browns own the Nos. 1 and 4 picks; the Jets traded up from No. 6 to No. 3, and teams rarely invest that kind of draft capital to not draft a quarterback. 

That leaves a few hinge points in how many quarterbacks are picked by the time the Bears are on the clock:

New York Giants (No. 2 overall)

The Giants still have an aging Eli Manning but could move to use the second pick to draft his long-term replacement. Or, alternatively, they could use this deep class of top-end quarterbacks as an avenue to trade down, add some picks and build out a young core that way. Either of these scenarios would be good news for the Bears, as we’ve seen Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, N.C. State defensive end Bradley Chubb and Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson connected to the Giants at No. 2 as well, if they were to stay there. The Buffalo Bills could be motivated to trade up to No. 2 to make sure they get the guy they want with quarterbacks almost assuredly going off the board at Nos. 1 and 3. 

Cleveland Browns (No. 4 overall)

If the Browns get their quarterback with the first pick — Sam Darnold? — they could be sitting in an ideal spot at No. 4. If the Giants draft a quarterback, Cleveland could play hardball and tell teams they’re fine keeping the fourth pick and drafting Barkley with it. That could create a bidding war between the Buffalo Bills (No. 12) and Denver Broncos (No. 5) to trade up and draft the last of the four clear-cut top quarterbacks in this class. In this scenario, Cleveland adds a bunch of picks to an already-sizable stash and accelerates their growth through the draft. 

If the Giants were to trade out of the No. 2 pick, let’s say to the Bills, it may lessen Cleveland’s desire to trade down from No. 4 unless a team in need of a quarterback like the Arizona Cardinals (No. 15) or Miami Dolphins (No. 11) starts lurking around. But as we saw last year with the Bears trading up one spot to draft Mitch Trubisky, teams don’t want to leave things to chance if they have conviction on the quarterback they want. So that brings us to the…

Denver Broncos (No. 5 overall)

The Broncos signed Case Keenum to a two-year deal and still have 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch on their roster, though he hasn’t shown much in only five games as a pro. Does Denver absolutely, positively have to draft a quarterback? No. They’re probably in the same boat as the Giants in that regard. But what if they really like Josh Allen and/or Baker Mayfield, both of whom their coaching staff worked with at the Senior Bowl, and one of them is still on the board when the Browns’ pick comes up at No. 4? Or what if Josh Rosen has been their guy all along? 

In that case, John Elway may make an aggressive move to guarantee he gets the quarterback he wants, and not risk losing that guy if a team were to cut the line by trading with the Browns. 

The other scenario is less positive for the Bears: Maybe the Broncos only have one or two quarterbacks out of this group they want, and they either can’t find a trade partner to move out of No. 5 or don’t want to. If three quarterbacks are drafted in the first seven picks, the Bears may not have the opportunity to draft one of Nelson, Chubb or Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. That’s not necessarily a bad thing — Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds, for example, is a super-talented prospect — but we seem to be moving toward a consensus that Nelson, Fitzpatrick, Chubb and Barkley are the four best non-quarterback prospects in this draft. And in all likelihood, the Bears will only be able to draft one of them four quarterbacks are taken before they pick. 

The wild card here is Nelson, given his position (guard) is rarely seen as worthy of being a top-10 pick. But those who saw him up close in college believe he’s a future perennial Pro Bowler, possibly beginning as soon as his rookie year. The Bears’ fit is obvious, with Harry Hiestand coming to coach the offensive line from Notre Dame and the team — as of right now — still having a fairly clear need for another interior offensive lineman. Perhaps Nelson falls to the Bears even if there are only three quarterbacks off the board before they pick, but having four go off the board would make things a little less stressful at Halas Hall in late April. 

Indianapolis Colts (No. 6 overall) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 7 overall)

The Colts already traded down once, and likely did so with the confidence that Chubb would still be on the board at No. 6 to help their limp pass rush. Fitzpatrick seems to be a good fit with Tampa Bay, though a player of his caliber would be a good fit anywhere. Either of these teams still could be persuaded to trade down, especially if the Giants and/or Broncos pass on a quarterback.

Chicago Bears (No. 8 overall)

If four quarterbacks are off the board by the time the Bears pick, that’s ideal for Pace. If three are, he still could get someone from his No. 8 pick “cloud” and be content staying there. If only two are — and this doesn’t appear to be a likely scenario — that means the Bills haven’t found a trade partner and may want to leapfrog the Dolphins at No. 11 to get their guy. More likely, if the Bears are able to trade down from No. 8, it would be because a team like Arizona wants to make sure the quarterback they want isn’t snagged by an opportunistic team ahead of them. 

But Pace's draft history has seen him trade up far more frequently than trade down. If someone who's in his draft cloud is available when the Bears go on the clock, chances are he'll pick that guy and not trade down. 

Plenty can and will change between now and when the draft begins on April 26. But for right now, the landscape ahead of the Bears suggests only positive things setting up for their first-round pick. 

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