Two picks, two needs filled for the Bears

I’ll say this much: The Chicago Bears have addressed their top two needs in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

Thursday night, they selected Wisconsin offensive tackle Gabe Carimi. Friday night, they moved up nine spots in the second round to select Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea. Known nationally for his record of 49 bench press repetitions at the scouting combine, Paea is now a leading candidate to replace defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

We’ll save the they-actually-got-the-deal-done cheap shot for later. For the record, the Bears swapped second-round positions with the Washington Redskins and also surrendered their fourth-round pick (No. 127 overall). That’s a lot to pay for a defensive tackle in the second round, but it came one spot after the New York Giants selected North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin, another prospect the Bears apparently coveted.

The Bears have openly discussed the possibility of moving defensive end Henry Melton to the three-technique position, but it’s a role too important to entrust solely to an inexperienced player making that kind of transition. The Bears needed another option there, and had they not secured Paea, I’m not sure there many other viable candidates to choose from.