At the top of the Chicago Bears' laundry list of roster needs is defensive tackle. Tommie Harris is gone, Anthony Adams is a free agent, Matt Toeaina is no more than a rotational player, Henry Melton is untested and Marcus Harrison has yet to impress his coaches.
Paea (6-1, 299-pounds) tore the lateral meniscus in his right knee during Senior Bowl week and didn't have a chance to participate in any movement drills at either the Scouting Combine or OSU's team pro day a few weeks ago. Yesterday's performance was the first chance for NFL teams to get an up-close look at him.
Paea did perform the bench press at the combine, breaking the all-time record with 49 reps. To say he is strong is an understatement and it's one of the many reasons he's considered a first-round pick in the upcoming draft.
Last year, in his senior season, Paea was voted by the coaches as the Pac-10 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, and for the second straight season received the Pac-10 Morris Trophy as the conference's top defensive lineman. He finished 2010 with 45 tackles, including 10 tackles-for-loss and six quarterback sacks. He also caused four fumbles and is the OSU record holder for career forced fumbles with nine. He was a semifinalist for the Bednarik Award, presented to the nation's top defensive player.
On film, Paea is consistently the most-powerful player on the field. He explodes off the ball and can drive blockers deep into the backfield. When he keeps his pads low and is able to get leverage, the offensive lineman doesn't stand a chance. His strength allows him to anchor very well at the point of attack. He keeps good balance and is nearly impossible to move. He also hits like a freight train.
Paea is more of a straight bull rusher and does not show a ton of quickness when getting after the passer. He can rely too much on his upper body strength at times and he must work on breaking down better, as he'll often fly right past the quarterback. But when it comes to pure 1-gap penetration, he's as good as they get. Additionally, he carries no off-the-field baggage.
At his pro day, working on a knee he said was 85-90 percent, Paea posted a 5.15 40-yard dash, a 31-inch vertical jump and eight-foot long jump.
"If it was only three weeks later, I would have done better as far as numbers and all that," he said after his workout.
Paea is a pure 4-3 defensive tackle that would make a great fit for Chicago's defense. He's not a player who will give an NFL team 8-10 sacks per season but he'll provide consistent one-gap pressure and will be stout in the run game. Players with his size and amazing strength don't come around very often.
Phair got a good look at him and now has a much better idea of the player the Bears are considering with their first-round pick. If he likes what he saw, Chicago could be in line to grab one of the most solid interior defensive linemen in this year's draft.
Illinois receiver generating buzz
According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post, former Illinois wide receiver Jarred Fayson has been generating a lot of attention from many NFL team, one of those being the Bears.
Fayson (6-0, 207-pounds) ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at Illinois' pro day. He also posted a 39-inch vertical leap, a 10-8 broad jump and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.
He is an extremely raw prospect who transferred from Florida after his freshman season and didn't see all that much playing time in Champaign. He best year was in 2010, when caught 38 passes for 355 yards and a touchdown. Yet his blend of size and speed has many teams intrigued. He's nothing more than a last round pick or priority free agent but it wouldn't be surprising if the Bears brought him to camp to see if he can develop further and become a producer.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.