Falcons, Thomas Dimitroff defend drafting Prince Shembo

Jason Butt

The Atlanta Falcons made their most controversial pick in the Mike Smith-Thomas Dimitroff era in taking Notre Dame linebacker Prince Shembo in the fourth round.

There's a lot of baggage associated with Shembo, who ackowledged at the NFL combine that he was the Notre Dame player involved in a case that involved a St. Mary's College freshman, which later resulted in the woman committing suicide.

Shembo was never charged by police with a crime, though many news outlets have reported that Notre Dame officials and law enforcement did not react appropriately to this incident.

On Saturday, Dimitroff was forced to defend the pick.

"We're very, very aware of the seriousness of the incident," Dimitroff said, via ESPN.com. "Obviously, it's a sad situation for the young lady involved. We've done a lot of research at many levels from our security standpoint, from all the research that we did at Notre Dame. And he was never charged, never suspended from the team or the school."

Since Smith and Dimitroff joined the Falcons in 2008, the organization has had a solid track record in drafting high-character players. Therefore, it seems a bit odd that the Falcons took a risk on a player such as Shembo. 

Shembo should be prepared to have a large magnifying glass placed upon him throughout his entire NFL career. There will be folks in some circles that will never let him live this incident down, nor should they. Contrary to what Dimitroff said, just because Shembo was never charged, it doesn't mean nothing happened. The only two people that know for certain are Shembo and the accuser, and the accuser is no longer alive.

For the Falcons sake, they'll need to hope their due diligence paid off in a serious matter such as this.

Follow me on twitter: @JasonHButt

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This story originally appeared on Nationalfootballpost.com
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