NFL Draft 2011: DT Stephen Paea, Oregon State

The 2011 NFL draft is right around the corner and SB Nation's Building The Dam has the full run down on DT Stephen Paea. Check out Building The Dam for more on Oregon State football. 

Defensive tackle | 6'1", 311 pounds | Senior.

Paea holds the Oregon St. career record for fumbles forced, with 9. Paea also has done the NFL Combine standard 225 pound bench press 44 reps, one shy of the all time record. Paea bench presses 550 lbs, and squats 650 lbs.

Defensive scheme: Started every game in his three year Oregon St. career, playing in a 4-3 defense, after playing one year at Snow CC in Ephraim, UT. Paea will be a defensive tackle in the NFL as well.

A story you may not know: Paea was a rugby player growing up in Tonga, and a kick boxer. He derives much of his footwork as well as his upper body leverage from these sports.

Paea, who was the first person in his family to get a college degree, actually has been planning to be a professional athlete for years, but until moving to Utah, where he first played football his senior season in high school, rugby in New Zealand was the sport he was targeting. Paea continued to play rugby at Oregon St. in his spare time.

 

Comparable to which NFL player: Not many, especially since the NFL has moved more to a 3-4 league. Perhaps Shaun Cody of the Houston Texans. Paea isn't a true NG type of player, but is still effective as a run stopper. And being a DT, often isn't in position to record sacks, but can certainly provide pressure up the middle. Double teamed throughout his career, Paea caused many more sacks than he recorded.

Multiple NFL scouts have commented about Paea's good hand positioning, noting he plays with good leverage, and keeps his hands inside of the blocker most of the time. His strong hands also allow him to be a solid tackler, and someone who can produce forced fumbles at a pretty high rate, hence, the school record. Both the strength and condition required for rugby, coupled with the emphasis on hand coordination derived from kick boxing play a large role in that.    

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