More and more NFL rookies are expected to contribute early in their careers. However, for them to make an impact they need to beat out a veteran player. We are going to analyze the situation of specific rookies and determine the likely hood of them winning a position battle.
Player: Stephen Paea
Team: Chicago Bears
Position: Defensive Tackle
Chance of winning the battle: 50 percent
Thoughts: The Bears traded up to select the powerful defensive tackle out of Oregon State. Many had Paea has a 1st round rated player but he slipped due to a knee injury suffered at the Senior Bowl. Chicago is facing some question marks at the defensive tackle position which is why they made the move for Paea.
Paea is a strong defensive tackle with some quickness. His best attribute is his ability to hold at the line and stuff the run. However, he possesses a quick enough first step to penetrate the pocket and wreak havoc in the backfield. Chicago is looking for a replacement for Tommie Harris and Paea will get his shot. Regardless of the competition outcome, Paea figures to be a major cog in the defensive line rotation.
Paea will be battling the emerging Matt Toeaina and Henry Melton. Both are underrated players that have the potential to earn the starting gig. Anthony Adams is a free agent but appears likely to return and hold down the nose tackle spot on the line. Overall, Paea may not earn a starting role but he will get a ton of playing time. However, his abilities give him as good of a shot as any to win the starting gig.