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The 10 Most Important Bears for 2012 - #9 Stephen Paea

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It wasn't my intention to spotlight the last two top defensive draft picks from the organization, but that's what ended up happening. Number 10 on my list, rookie defensive end Shea McClellin, has to increase the edge rush threat for the Bears, and number 9 has to fill a few roles from the interior. Chicago second year defensive tackle Stephen Paea is another guy that will push for a starting position, but even if he's the 3rd DT, he has to make his presence felt. He has to be an impact player in 2012.

Henry Melton seems to have a solid grasp on the starting 3 Technique spot for the Bears, but Paea will see time there. And whether he rotates over from the starting nose tackle position or fills both DT spots as the top reserve, Paea has to make productive use of his snaps. The Bears lost Amobi Okoye to free agency and he was a pass rushing DT. They also elected to let Anthony Adams walk, and the Bears will miss his run stuffing ability. Paea has to bring both aspects to his play, get after the QB and play stout run D.

Along with Melton and Matt Toeaina, the Bears top three DTs should see similar time on the field unless an injury occurs. And if someone goes down with an injury it could be trouble. Without looking it up, can you name the next DT in line?

I'll admit I was flummoxed. I couldn't pull the next guy in line off the top of my head. Would DT #4 be John McCargo, Nate Collins, Jordan Miller, or DeMario Pressley? Does it even matter?

If Stephen Paea can play up to his potential the Bears will have a high motor, run stuffing, get after the QB type of player, that could be a fixture for years.