What draft experts are saying about Dallas Cowboys first-round selection of Mazi Smith
Both Mazi Smith and DJ Turner had a chance to become Michigan football first-round selections on Thursday night during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. Turner didn’t hear his name called in Round 1, but Smith was selected 26th overall by the Dallas Cowboys.
The Wolverines have had a first-round selection in five straight NFL drafts.
There were plenty of Twitter reactions to the Cowboys’ first-round pick and the best of them all probably came from the ‘Boys star defensive player, Micah Parsons during a live video.
But there are also other opinions out there by NFL draft experts.
We are showing you different sites and what they are saying about the Cowboys’ new defensive tackle, Mazi Smith.
Pete Prisco with CBS Sports loves the selection of Mazi Smith. He gave the Cowboys an A for the pick.
Smith is another one of my favorite players. He’s a power player who can hold up against the run, but I think he will be a better pass rusher than people expect. He just needs to keep his weight in check.
Vinnie Iyer with Sporting News believes Dallas reached a little bit by picking Mazi Smith. But since the Cowboys filled a big need by taking an interior lineman, he gave the selection a B grade.
The Cowboys reached a little, but they did fill a direct need for a run-stuffing nose tackle who can start right away from them with his nice combination of power and quickness.
PFF didn’t do a typical grading system for the draft, but they chose to say ‘below average’ to ‘elite’. The editorial team gave the Mazi Smith selection an average grade.
It might not be an exciting pick, but for a team that has struggled to stop the run consistently recently, it makes a lot of sense. An impressive athlete for someone his size, Smith posted PFF grades of 75.0 or better in each of the past two seasons.
Chad Reuter with NFL.com gave the Mazi Smith pick a B grade. He believes the statistical production at Michigan is ‘concerning’ but with Smith’s athleticism, the pick is better than average.
The Cowboys needed to strengthen their defensive tackle group, so the pick makes sense. Smith is well-known for his athleticism at 323 pounds, flashing the ability to win off the snap. His production in college is concerning (just six tackles for loss in three seasons), but the team must believe he will be able to do more once unleashed in Dan Quinn’s scheme.
Sports Illustrated gave the Cowboys’ selection a B grade as well. The inconsistent production worries them, but with the Eagles being in their division, the need was real.
Dallas added a beefy defensive tackle to an interior defensive line that was inconsistent at times last season. Smith, who was taken ahead of Bryan Bresee, is a productive run stopper and has upside as a pass rusher. The Cowboys might have reached here, but they needed depth on the defensive line in a division that features the mobile Jalen Hurts.
Doug Farrar with Touchdown Wire gave the Cowboys a B-plus grade for taking the Michigan DT. He believes Dan Quinn will bring even more out of Smith at the next level.
The Cowboys had a real need for an interior hole-plugger with penetrative potential in the middle of Dan Quinn’s defense, and Smith certainly fits that bill. Smith is more than just a big dude who soaks up blockers so that others can shine — at his best, he can wreck top offensive lines by himself, and he brings Dontari Poe to mind as a quick, nimble big man who should reinforce all the Cowboys want to do with their pass-rush, and add a lot against the run. Smith also can stunt well, and the Cowboys do a ton of that under Quinn. His new DC should also be able to bring a bit more juice to Smith’s game.