Well it’s exactly 3 months (or 92 days) until the Chicago Bears play the Buffalo Bills in the season opener and that brings us to number 92 himself, Stephen Paea. One of the last holdovers on the defensive side of the ball from the Jerry Angelo era, 2014 is a make or break season for the former Oregon State Beaver.
Paea has largely been a disappointment since the Bears traded a 4th round pick to the Washington Redskins to move up nine spots and select him with the 53rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Paea needs to show us some of the talent that had many experts projecting him to go in the late first round or he might be looking for a new team next season, if not sooner.
Stephen Paea started his career off with a bang, recording a sack for a safety on Donovan McNabb during his NFL debut while McNabb was with the Minnesota Vikings. Big number 92 grew up on Tonga and didn’t play organized football until his senior year in high school. He has also been injured multiple times in his career, but these are flimsy excuses for a player with his physical skill set as he possesses excellent quickness for the position and set a record at the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine with 49 bench press reps at 225 lbs.
In my opinion, Stephen Paea might not even make the final roster this season. He’s unlikely to start with Nate Collins and Jeremiah Ratliff projected to lock up those roles, which means he will have to carve out a spot in the rotation. The Bears selected two defensive tackles this offseason and if Paea can’t beat them out for playing time, he may find himself looking for a job sooner rather than later.
Be on the lookout for our Countdown to Kickoff series as we continue to work our way to the season opener on September 7th.