The Atlanta Falcons had selected Notre Dame outside linebacker Prince Shembo with the 133rd pick in the NFL Draft.
Shembo finished the 2013 season with 46 tackles and five sacks. He has good size, 6-1 and 253-pounds, for the position of a rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.
Shembo is at his best when he is able to attack the quarterback and nothing else. He is a one-dimensional player, but is very good at that one ability. He doesn’t give up and always plays hard. Shembo shows good burst off the snap and has great closing speed when coming in for a tackle or sack.
When he wasn’t asked to worry about play action or running backs, he can be a monster. If you throw wrinkles at him (i.e. trick plays, spread offense, etc.) his value diminishes. He isn’t bad against the run, and shows a natural ability to track down the ball carrier and get him on the ground, but it isn’t his best attribute.
There are times when Shembo is taken out of the play with a quality block. He doesn’t always show the ability to take on his blocker and blow up a play. He needs to get stronger, especially at the point of attacks.
He never missed playing time in his career started in 34 games. Shembo was involved in an off field incident relating to the assault a St. Mary’s female student who eventually committed suicide, but no legal charges were ever filed.
Shembo needs to work on his rush skills and technique. He has shown flashes of being a solid pass rusher and was much better in 2013. With some work, he could turn into a quality player with the right coaching and in the right system.
The Falcons desperately need to get pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Shembo could help this team get the QBs more often, especially on third downs. The Falcons have been running a 4-3 defense so it will be interesting to see how Shembo fits into that scheme.
Shembo was often used as a down lineman when Notre Dame went to a nickel or dime package. He has the versatility to play both ways and that could increase his value to the Falcons.