Defensive Rookie of the Year: Mazi Smith
The Cowboys haven't received a ton of play from their defensive rookies this season. Viliami Fehoko Jr. and Eric Scott have yet to make their NFL debuts while Tyrus Wheat has spent 87.1% of his playing time (54-of-62 snaps) playing special teams.
That leaves Mazi Smith as the only legitimate contender to be Dallas' midseason DROY.
Like any rookie, Smith has had his fair share of ups and downs. The 2023 first-rounder has good to decent Pro Football Focus grades when it comes to tackling (70.8), pass rush (63.2), and coverage (61.1), but severely struggles to defend the run (30.2).
Even though he's yet to play more than 22 snaps in an outing, the fact that he hasn't been stuck in a special teams role is encouraging. He was drafted 23rd overall in April for a reason, so I expect him to start unlocking his true potential once he gets even more used to the NFL.
Unless Fehoko, Scott, or Wheat see a massive increase in playing time, Smith will likely end the year as the clear-cut Cowboys DROY.
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