2023 Cowboys scouting report: Michigan defensive sort out Mazi Smith
The Cowboy want some beef within the trenches on protection.
Cowboys draft prospects scouting experiences for the 2023 NFL Draft.
Title: Mazi Smith
Weight: 337 kilos
Mazi Smith Profession Stats, courtesy of Sports activities Reference
Mazi Smith is a hometown hero who simply completed out a terrific profession at Michigan. As a four-star prospect out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Smith opted to remain residence and play for the Wolverines regardless of presents from Georgia, Alabama, and extra. He performed an integral position within the Wolverines changing into defensive juggernauts, and he’s gotten higher every season.
Smith now prepares to enter the draft after his greatest 12 months but, however there shall be loads of questions. Michigan used him virtually solely as a two-gapping nostril sort out, not not like Jordan Davis of Georgia. Davis was picked thirteenth total, which was thought of a little bit of a shock for a participant who wasn’t thought of a lot of a cross rusher. The identical problem shall be current for Smith, who is probably going pushing for a late-first spherical choice at this level.
For the Cowboys, that places him proper into their vary. As nice because the Cowboys protection has been below Dan Quinn, the inside of the line of defense has been constantly underwhelming, even with occasional flashes right here and there. Might Smith assist change that narrative?
Burst: For his dimension, Smith comes off the road of scrimmage very well. A lot of his time at Michigan was working in a read-and-react position, which didn’t permit a lot for him to pin his ears again and actually explode upfield, however he seems to have the burst to win that manner if requested to take action. The mix will reply extra questions right here, too.
Footwork: Smith could be very methodical together with his ft, permitting him to realize leverage towards even the perfect offensive linemen he goes up towards. He retains his ft transferring too, which solely makes it simpler to make use of the entire energy he has pent up in his huge body.
Hand Method: He’s a mammoth of a person, and that’s evident in the way in which he makes use of his palms. Smith delivers a strong punch and has an incredible sense of the best way to use it to drive linemen backwards. He’s not essentially the most lively together with his palms, however a few of that’s as a result of he causes a lot disruption together with his preliminary punch. It’s a superb drawback to have.
Move Rush Strikes: Smith didn’t have a ton of true cross rush reps at Michigan, which complicates his profile. Even on true cross performs, he was typically taking up double groups due to his alignment. Nonetheless, when Smith did get to hurry the passer, he confirmed promise. He’s at his greatest when overpowering a lineman as a cross rusher, which occurs often. He doesn’t have essentially the most refined toolkit of cross rush strikes, however once more, that stems from his restricted use on this aspect of the sport. The potential is there, although.
Lateral Agility: Going alongside together with his methodical footwork, Smith is a fluid mover alongside the road of scrimmage when working laterally. With a lot two-gap work, he needed to be good on this space and he was. It helped him grow to be an elite run defender.
Athleticism: While you weigh almost 340 kilos, athleticism turns into relative. Smith isn’t prone to place close to the highest of the positional leaderboards on the mix, however that’s not the expectation for him both. He performs with ample practical athleticism, by no means wanting misplaced on the sphere.
Run Protection: He’s an elite run defender. No inside defender on this draft class had extra run stops this 12 months than Smith, and he was sixth within the nation total. He has the facility, lateral agility, and processing capability to disrupt any offense’s working recreation with consistency. It’s his calling card, and for good purpose.
Processing: Smith was ready to indicate off his processing expertise, often having to two-gap and skim the backfield earlier than reacting. It helps that Smith was in a position to anchor in addition to he did, however he additionally flashed clear eyes that had been in a position to diagnose and assault shortly.
Intangibles: He performed his total profession at Michigan, getting markedly higher every year. In his closing season, he was named a group captain. Smith is a relentless employee who leads by instance, one thing that the Wolverines workers typically raved about. He provides greater than only a gifted participant to an NFL locker room, as is the type of particular person groups like to have for the sake of tradition.