Chicago Bears 2013 Breakout Candidate: Stephen Paea
With so many players vying for both roster spots as well as significant playing time days before training camps open around the NFL, there is a strong chance that there are several players around the league who are on the verge of having a breakout season and setting the league on fire so to speak. One player on the Chicago Bears roster who maybe poised for such a breakout performance is defensive tackle Stephen Paea.
A three year pro out of Oregon State University, Paea, for lack of a better term, has been paying his dues the last few seasons with the Bears as a member of the formidable defensive line rotation that’s been in place in Chicago throughout Lovie Smith‘s tenure with the team. Even now, with a completely new coaching staff roaming Halas Hall, Paea is in great position to make a true lasting impact with the Bears. And with a 2012 stat line of 24 total tackles and 2.5 sacks, it might not be easy to justify Paea becoming more of a problem for opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators. But that’s where Henry Melton comes in.
The fact that Melton will likely receive the bulk of double-teams, chip and cut blocks from opposing offenses will likely leave a gaping man sized hole in the interior for Paea to deal with. It’s possible that Paea will be forced into dealing with one-on-one blocking, which given hi’s size and instincts should result in an increase in his production as well as his stat line. Another factor that could propel Paea into Pro Bowl statics is that the 25 year-old has yet to scratch the surface of his true talent. This year under the watchful eye of a brand new coaching staff might aid in Paea overachieving in the 2013 season.