Atlanta has a penchant for bringing in Notre Dame players for visits under Thomas Dimitroff's reign as general manager. So interest in someone like Prince Shembo should be of no surprise.
According to Dan Hope of Buffalo Bills Draft, the Falcons had a private workout with Shembo. They are putting in their due diligence for the off-field questions he might have, as some things have popped up throughout the draft process.
University of Notre Dame
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'1-3/8" Weight: 253 pounds
Arm Length: 33-1/8" Hand Measurement: 10-1/2"
40-yard dash: 4.71 sec. 10-yard split: 1.59 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.31 sec. Three-cone Drill: 7.29 sec. Bench Reps: 26 reps
Vertical Jump: 38.5" Broad Jump: 10'2"
2013: 13 games played, 48 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, 17 QB hurries, 1 fumble forced
2012: 13 games played, 51 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks, 12 QB hurries, 1 pass deflection
2011: 12 games played, 31 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks, 2 QB hurries
2010: 13 games played, 14 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 QB hurries
Long arms, big hands and a stout build very similar to the Falcons’ Jonathan Massaquoi are just a few positives Shembo has in his game. He’s got great hip fluidity and athleticism combined with a high football IQ that will keep him in plays.
He understands things like stunts and twists when he has to team with an end to create pressure on one side of the formation. He will be an asset in a multiple-front defense as a blitzing linebacker, down defensive end and even as a linebacker in coverage.
Despite being a solid athlete, Shembo doesn’t seem to attack the ball the way he should. That could be due to scheme or due to a tentative playing style. He also doesn’t have a single pass-rush move. If he did have at least one, the Falcons could turn him from a pressure specialist into a sack specialist.
He needs to really improve his hand usage and turn the worst part of his game into the best. If he could learn how to do that, his speed-to-power conversion would be much better than it is now. He also needs to pop out of his stance a good bit quicker and anticipate the snap count better.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Shembo is known as a great teammate and leader in South Bend. But there is an issue that can be tied to Shembo that no one knew until a couple of months ago. He was investigated for a sexual assault claim made by a woman who committed suicide in 2010.
The Falcons will need to make sure everything is copacetic there, or they won't want to draft him in any way. Nonetheless, Shembo was never arrested nor suspended during his four seasons at Notre Dame.
Shembo is a unique all-around linebacker who has played in both the 3-4 and 4-3 and could be an asset for any team that runs multiple fronts. His off-field situation seems a bit of a concern, but this could be a non-issue if Shembo handles it well in interviews.
On top of that, he has the potential to be a long-term starter in the NFL if he can just get some proper coaching. His technique issues are aggravating, and his lack of aggression needs to be addressed within a scheme so that he attacks the ball more.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
The Falcons could probably take Shembo in the fifth or sixth round and wind up with at least some solid depth early on. Long term, Shembo could be a star if he works with defensive line coach Bryan Cox on how to fix his hands and teach him some pass-rush moves.
Coordinator Mike Nolan should love the versatility that Shembo presents. But overall, he’s not going to be a starter until he fixes those issues. The Falcons could be the perfect situation for Shembo, though, as he’s a very natural defender with some technical issues.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.
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