Just when you thought Stephen Paea might become the next in a long and dismal string of busted Jerry Angelo draft picks, he’s moving up in the world and into a starting role with the Bears. Paea caught the attention of scouts last season with some ridiculous bench press reps at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis last season.
The Bears thought enough of him that they traded up to move up a few spots to draft to move up and draft him in the second round. He struggled early in his rookie season, getting off to a slow start before finally getting into the regular rotation as the season went on.
Now Paea is healthy and has his legs under him (literally and figuratively) and expects to make some serious contributions this season.
He’s excited but grounded as he takes on a new role as he discussed with reporters after Thursday’s practice.
It would be HUGE if Paea could get a push for the Bears from the Nose Tackle position. Paired with Henry Melton inside, the Bears could actually have a young nucleus to start rebuilding the defensive line from the inside out. Remember back in ’06, they had Tommie Harris and Tank Johnson wreaking havoc up front. Are Paea and Melton the 2012 version?