How LB Prince Shembo Fits with the Atlanta Falcons

Scott CarasikContributor IIMay 10, 2014

Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo follows play against Air Force in the third quarter of Notre Dame's 45-20 victory in an NCAA football game at the Air Force Academy, Colo., on Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The Atlanta Falcons finally addressed their need for a pass-rusher by selecting Prince Shembo out of Notre Dame in Round 4. He's not a great closer as he tends to get hurries more than sacks, but he does put panic into quarterbacks when he rushes in from the outside.

The Falcons needed some more depth behind Kroy Biermann as the full-time outside linebacker on the strong side. Shembo fits into a similar mold as Biermann and should be the ideal replacement if he gets hurt yet again this season.


On the Field

Special teams and depth are the name of the game here. Shembo can get after the quarterback, but he doesn't always end up sacking him. He does wind up hitting quarterbacks quite often. He has a unique athletic profile that allows him to drop back into coverage at times too.

He's a unique Biermann-type fit for the Falcons defense because he can blitz and attack from anywhere. He adds to the Falcons' amoeba defensive looks because of his versatility. This addition improves the depth at linebacker quite a bit.

On special teams, he was a great gunner and blocker on punt sets for the Fighting Irish. He should translate right away into an instant contributor on those sets. Because of that, the Falcons should get a lot more out of him instantly than most of their recent picks at edge-rusher.


Off the Field

Shembo was always known as a tough guy on the field. However, off the field, he's shown to be a team leader for the Irish. He's never been formally arrested or suspended for any off-field actions and has been a team guy.

There were questions about him off the field at one time, but those were cleared up. He was implicated in an alleged rape case. The accuser later committed suicide, but Shembo was never charged with anything and shouldn't have the incident held against him.


Why Shembo Instead of David Yankey or Telvin Smith?

The Falcons needed to address their edge-rusher in some way. Shembo played a 3-4 outside linebacker role for four years at Notre Dame and proved to be the best fit for the Falcons.

Sure, guard depth with a guy like David Yankey would have been great. He was a two-time All-American and would have been an excellent fit behind Jon Asamoah and Justin Blalock. However, the Falcons can always wait until later to grab depth picks.

Telvin Smith could have been interesting since he might fit in better as a safety than a linebacker. But the Falcons already addressed safety, and bringing in a coverage linebacker didn't make as much sense as going after a pass-rushing one.

For more information on Shembo, check out Darren Page's scouting report. You can also check out my 2014 potential Falcons draft-pick profile on him.


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