Chicago Bears Improve Their Defense

Chicago Bears moved to improve their defense with the selected Friday night in the NFL Draft.

They worked in an exchange of the Washington Redskins to move up from No. 62 and No. 53 and select defensive tackle Stephen Paea, Oregon State in the second round. As part of the agreement, the Redskins Bears a fourth round, No. 127 in its entirety.

Chicago nabbed the third round of Security Chris Conte, California 93 choice.

The 6-foot-1, 295 pounds Paea was an All-American last season for the Beavers. He had 14 sacks and nine forced fumbles during his career.

Chicago is looking for help on the defensive front after the release former Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris. Paea says he can play nose guard or fight against, and that versatility is attractive for the Bears.

Paea was an outstanding football player who was born in the island chain Vav'u the island of Tonga. The first time I attended the Snow (Utah) Community College before going to Oregon, where he started 37 of 38 games with the Beavers.

"If someone told me when I arrived here from Tonga that I would be the 53rd pick in the draft, I laughed because I was expecting the seventh inning, or at least (a little) to get to the NFL when I came here, "said Paea.

As in the NFL, which is similar to Paea chose the former Vikings star John Randle.

"I can not compare with it, but I like his style," Paea said. "About the same height and the ability to play."

Paea has suffered a torn meniscus in his knee during training for the Senior Cup in January and needed arthroscopic surgery, but said Friday night that is 100 percent. The bench press 225 pounds 49 times seen in the NFL combine.

"I'm ready to go," said Paea. "They said that I have the right player for their defense and their system. It takes only one team that you love me. ... Chicago Bears are playing the same defense, and I like to attack the defense."

Last season, he made the game Bears NFC Championship where they were beaten by the Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The Bears defense was third in points allowed offensive (256), tied for third win (35) and second in rushing defense (90 yards per game).

They now have two possible contributors to Paea and Conte.

Conte has played in 50 games for the Golden Bears and made 17 starts during his career. It developed after the passage of the cornerback to safety as a senior. The 6-foot-3, was 212 pounds Conte selected first-team all last season Pac-10, while 72 tackles.

"For me it was pretty easy. Read safety I felt much more natural to it," said Conte. "It allowed me to see the area and make calls."

And does not lack confidence.

"I always felt that was the best safety of the project," he said.

The Chief Jerry Angelo said locating free safety in the project can be difficult. The Bears have now drawn nine strong ties since 2002, including Major Wright in the third round a year ago.

"Free Safeties are like dinosaurs. Will not find them," says Angelo.

Paea, meanwhile, has also been a force for the Beavers in his last season, when he had four fumbles, had 45 tackles, six sacks and was credited with 11 stops behind the line of scrimmage.

"It's a very disruptive player," Angelo said, adding that the knee problem Paea may have damaged his draft stock, but are not a concern.

In the first round, 29th overall pick Bears Thursday stepped up their offensive line with Wisconsin Gabe Carimi.

Carimi, Wisconsin was a teammate and Nate Tice, whose father was Chicago's offensive line coach Mike. The familiarity is even more profound - the wife and mother of Mike Tice Carimi tailgated together before the games of the Badgers'.