Since the dawn of Texans time, the fans have yearned for someone to adequately step up and man the middle of the defensive line. Since the Texans slid down to #11, it’s looking more and more likely that Marcel Dareus and Nick Fairley will not be there at that pick. Could Stephen Paea be that man?
What the scouts all seem to agree on: He’s powerful, he’s active, and he has great initial burst on the snap. Words like motor, dedication, and gym rat also pop out to me—this guy has the sort of intangibles the Texans always target when they’re drafting. There also seems to be a theme of untapped potential, which probably comes from the fact that he’s been playing football for such a short period of time.
What the scouts all seem to think he needs to work on: Pass rushing repertoire. He’s pointed out as relying on his bull rush almost exclusively. Hey, it worked for Mario Williams, didn’t it? Lateral movement is another key issue, and that sort of links right in with the problem they have with his pass rushing, he’s overly reliant on winning that first step. Of course, players have made a career out of that.
Will he be there at 11? Probably. Most drafts right now have him in the 11-25 range, although that could change once NFL scouts get a load of his bench press numbers at the combine. Would he be a fit in the Wade Phillips 3-4? He is a quick penetrator, he can split double teams, and by that measure and MDC’s analysis of the Phillips 3-4, he should be a fit.
Logically, this would seem to make him a pretty good candidate to be drafted by the Texans at #11. Keep in mind that logic hasn’t always been this franchise’s strong suit, but he’s as strong a contender as there is in the field. He’d fill an area that has been a need for the Texans for a very long time. If it were my pick, he’d be my #1 candidate (that’s likely to be there) on the board. Will the Texans see it that way?