Dallas Cowboys Draft Profile – Mazi Smith – Impact defensive lineman

Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys need help on the defensive interior, and while this class is a touch thin at 1-technique defensive tackles early in the draft, there are some guys who fit what this team needs in rounds two through four. Mazi Smith is a run-stuffing defensive tackle out of Michigan and would improve the line early.

While he may not have the pass-rushing chops to go earlier, his ability against the run will help him be a second or third-round pick. Anyone who watched as the Dallas Cowboys’ season unfolded, knows they still had some issues stopping the run when Johnathan Hankins wasn’t in the game. Losing John Ridgeway certainly didn’t help matters.

Mazi Smith is a run-stuffing defensive tackle that fills a huge need for the Dallas Cowboys who could improve if he can get better with interior pressure.

Watching Smith play the first thing you notice is how hard he is to move in the run game. From his punch to his drive with his legs, Smith displays all the power you could want from a 1-tech defensive tackle.

He can run two-gaps, take on double teams, and overpower guards on almost every play. However, the other thing that will surprise people is how well he moves laterally for a man of his size (6’3″ and about 335 pounds). As a pass rusher, Smith relies on a club and his power to win reps, when he does win, offensive linemen, move backward.

Where Smith needs to work is developing a better instinct coming off the snap so he can get into a lineman quickly where he has a better chance to win a rep. His arms are not ideal, so translating his power into the NFL may require him to work on getting off the line quickly and with a few more moves.

He has flashed some pass-rushing ability, but he will need work before he can be relied on for three downs.

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Mazi Smith certainly fits this team with his power and ability to shut the run down, whether inside or trailing from the backside, Smith can do it. His footwork, agility, and hand usage are good and if he can develop a pass-rush skillset, he could be a steal in a few years. If he tests well at the combine he could go in the late second, but for now, he is a target in round three for the Dallas Cowboys