The Dallas Cowboys have drafted Michigan Wolverines’ DL Mazi Smith with the No. 26 overall pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Smith was a two-year starter for the Wolverines on two teams that made it to the College Football Playoff. He earned first-team All-Big Ten last year after getting honorable mention accolades the season before.
He’s massive, standing at 6-foot-3 and a whopping 323 pounds out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. But even with that size, he’s very athletic and quick off the ball. He has a ton of potential but might be a bit more of a project pick with some technical issues in his game, particularly in terms of dealing with double teams.
During his freshman season, he played in just two games and got three total tackles and one TFL. The following year he got 37 tackles with 2.5 for loss and three passes broken up. Last year he capped off his college career with 48 total tackles, 2.5 for loss, half a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
How can Mazi Smith impact the Cowboys in 2023?
Smith projects as a defensive tackle at the next level. Dallas needs some help in stopping the run in the NFC East and overall, and Smith helps address that need. Neville Gallimore should be able to start in the 4-3 scheme the Cowboys use, with Smith slotting in right next to him. It depends on how quickly he can pick up the playbook and the pacing of the NFL game, but he should be able to overtake Osa Odighizuwa.