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NFL Draft 2011: Chicago Bears Select Oregon State DT Stephen Paea

The Chicago Bears gave up a fourth round pick to trade up and select Oregon State DT Stephen Paea. This is a great pick for the Bears, who could make good use of Paea’s skills in their 4-3 defense.

Paea wowed fans and general managers alike by obliterating the NFL Combine record for bench reps. The former rugby player lifted the bar an absurd 49 times, demonstrating that he has the strength to play anywhere on the defensive line.

It is hard to imagine this pick affecting the Steelers very much. With the recent selections of Ohio State standout Cam Heyward, the Steelers are set at DE, and I don’t think that Paea looks like a 3-4 NT to me. Paea does not have very long arms that might enable him to cover two gaps in the running game like a good 3-4 NT should. Instead, Paea will probably be a very successful DT in a 4-3, as he can utilize his explosive jump off the line to collapse pockets throughout the NFC North.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.