Oregon State defensive lineman Stephen Paea has been projected as the Seattle Seahawks' pick in at least on mock draft this week, but may have severely hurt his draft stock at the Senior Bowl. It’s not because of an underwhelming performance — he was outstanding, as always — but because of an injury suffered sometime during the Monday workouts. Paea never showed apparent signs of the injury, but wasn’t at workouts on Tuesday, either.
First, the mock draft itself. Drafttek has the Seahawks taking Paea with the 25th pick in the draft because of his ability to clog the middle and give Seattle a boost on the defensive line.
After watching the first two Senior Bowl practices, Paea is not a NT, but a penetrating 3-technique DT which is exactly what the Seahawks need — push up the middle. Outside of Kentwan Balmer at DE, the Seattle DL is made up of a bunch of guys named Fred — put Paea next to run-stuffer Colin Cole and you immediately improve MLB Lofa Tatupu’s performance
On the injury front, CBS Sports passed along word that trainers fear Paea has a torn meniscus.
ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported that Paea was sidelined because he was undergoing an MRI on his knee for a possible torn lateral meniscus. I’ve since confirmed with multiple sources at the South practice this afternoon that this, is indeed, the case.
Any injury, and especially one to the knee, that occurs as prospects are preparing for the draft has a significant chance to shakeup the draft. Should the initial fears be confirmed with the MRI, it’s very likely Paea sees his stock plummet.
It’s a shame Paea was injured at the Senior Bowl — a time when prospects are trying to raise their draft stocks in what is, essentially, a glorified all-star game. We’ll keep you posted on the injury and keep track of what it does to Paea’s draft stock, and how it affects the Seahawks pick, as details become available.