2011 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Today let's use our 2011 NFL Draft prospect profile to look at a player who strong-armed the NFL Scouting Combine on Sunday, setting a record for the most 225-pound bench press repetitions ever at the Combine. That would be Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, who benched those 225 pounds an astounding 49 times, proving correct draft experts who foresaw that Paea would be a 'Workout Warrior.'

Before we go any further in our discussion of Paea, a quick trivia question. Do you know which New York Giant held a share of the record that Paea shattered on Sunday? Mitch Petrus, who did 45 reps on the bench press a year ago. Petrus shared the mark with a couple of guys I never heard of, Leif Larsen and Mike Kudla.

Paea will not do on-field drills at the Combine after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery in January. He is seen as more than just a strong guy who plays football, though, and should be off the board in the first two rounds of the 2011 NFL Draft. Paea is the fourth-ranked tackle and 36th-ranked player overall on the current CBS Sports draft board.

The New York Giants, of course, face the possibility of losing defensive tackle Barry Cofield to free agency. Also, veteran Rocky Bernard has not lived up to the free-agent contract he signed two seasons ago. The Giants have Chris Canty and second-year man Linval Joseph, but should they believe they will lose Cofield they might consider fortifying this position.

Scouting reports after the jump.

Stephen Paea
DT, Oregon State
6-foot-1, 311 pounds

Scouting Reports

From Draft Countdown:

Strengths:
- Ripped and cut with good bulk and a solid build
- Extremely powerful with amazing natural strength
- Athletic with nice speed, quickness and agility
- Is stout at the point of attack and can anchor
- Excellent bull rusher and gets a terrific push
- Can penetrate and wreak havoc in the backfield
- Violent hand use and stuns with initial punch
- Plays w/ outstanding leverage and good balance
- Is capable of taking on and shedding blockers
- Active and aggressive in pursuit w/ non-stop motor
- A reliable tackler who will deliver the knockout hit
- Competitive and intense w/ nasty on-field demeanor
- Outstanding work ethic with leadership abilities
- Still improving and has considerable potential
- Durable and productive with lots of experience

Weaknesses:
- Lacks ideal height and arm length you'd prefer
- Instincts and awareness are still questionable
- Doesn't feature a wide array of pass rush moves
- Inconsistent and disappears from action at times
- Is still a bit raw and is not a polished technician

Overall:
Could play either the three-technique or nose in a 4-3 scheme or perhaps even nose tackle in a "30" front --- Intriguing prospect due to well- rounded game, versatility and intangibles --- Best football's still ahead.

From National Football Post:

He's explosive, powerful and can consistently overpower blockers at the point of attack. However, because of his lack of length and ability to cleanly shed blocks in the run game, looks limited to more of a one-gap scheme in the NFL. But has the ability to start and play at a high level early in his NFL career.

From SB Nation's Mocking The Draft:

Pass rush: Paea possesses excellent strength to bull rush offensive linemen back into the pocket. Has a good initial burst off the line. Is mostly a straight forward rusher and his only move is power. For such a strong player, you'd expect Paea to have a good rip move. You have to wonder some about his length and how it will hinder his pass rush in the NFL.

Run defend: Paea might not be the widest of bodies, but he is a rock in the middle of Oregon State's defense. He anchors especially well because of his lower body strength. He's hard to move off the line and routinely requires double teams. As a senior, Paea faced a lot of triple teams in the run game. Although he can anchor just fine, Paea's best spot in the pros might be a three-technique in a 4-3 scheme.

Final word: If nothing else, Paea is an entertaining player to watch. He's a squatty, powerful defensive tackle who generates a lot of penetration. Paea has a lot of upside considering he only played three seasons of American football prior to playing for Oregon State in 2008.

Paea still has room to grow, particularly in the technical aspects of the game

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