Originally written on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 10/28/14
I came into the 2014 NFL draft season with some pre conceived notions on what certain prospects were, and that’s never a good thing. I knew that Jadeveon Clowney would draw out some incredible hyperbole from around the web, and that came to fruition early and often already. The internet would proclaim that this class of quarterbacks was undoubtedly better than the 2013 class, despite not knowing the entire list of prospects that will enter the draft in 2014 as well as not knowing how the 2013 class faired. The rest?  Well that’s hopefully to come out over the next 11 months as we prepare for the 2014 NFL Draft, by looking at some prospects to get prepped for the 2013 college football season. Prince Shembo, OLB Notre Dame 6-2 255lbs A workhorse in an outstanding, if not slightly overrated 2012 Notre Dame defense, the Fighting Irish linebacker was a force against the run in 2012. He brings fearlessness to the game, and plays with a “swagger” that has been missing from Notre Dame for, well ever. Strengths Prince Shembo is stout versus the run.  He uses his hands to control his blocker and disengage and make plays on the ball. One of my favorite things to watch Shembo do is set the edge, as he consistently keeps his outside shoulder free while closing down the hole.  If a runner tries to bounce outside he is able to flow with them and make a play. When asked to rush the passer he has a powerful punch that allows him to get his blocker off balance and push them back into the quarterback. He’s a power player on the defensive side of the ball, as he loves to initiate, or seek out contact. Shembo does a good job wrapping up the ball carrier and not allowing them to get extra yardage after initial contact. Shows an excellent closing burst when in pursuit of the ball, and is relentless in his effort. Is an every down type of player, able to play versus the run, rush the passer or drop into coverage, although his ability in pass coverage isn’t the strongest. According to irish.nbcsports.com Shembo was on the field for 83% of defensive snaps for the Fighting Irish in 2012, and looks to expand on that in 2013. What I want to see in 2013 I want to see Prince Shembo get after the passer more. He only recorded 7.5 sacks in 2012, and while sacks don’t tell the whole story in ability to get to the quarterback, when you watch him play, he doesn’t show a quick twitch ability to get after the passer. I want to see him play with more explosiveness at the point of attack against pass protection, show some fluidity in his movements, and then use that nice closing speed to make plays. That’s not to say Shembo isn’t an intriguing prospect if he doesn’t improve as a pass rusher, I just think it limits his ceiling come draft time. If he is able to turn the corner more consistently and find different ways other than power to get to the quarterback, we may be talking about Prince Shembo much more in 2013.
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