LSU prospect Maason Smith met with Saints on pre-draft visit

Could this be the year the New Orleans Saints make LSU fans happy? The Saints have been linked to several prominent Tigers prospects in the 2024 NFL draft, having hosted wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. at their local pro day while sending a huge contingent of coaches, scouts, and other team personnel to LSU’s pro day workouts.

And we can add LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith to the list of players they’ve met with before the 2024 draft. Smith told The Draft Network’s Justin Melo that the Saints were the first  of many formal visits he’s made in recent weeks: “I started off in New Orleans with the Saints last week. I flew to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. I also met with the Jets and Giants. I went to Minnesota, Buffalo, Green Bay, and Charlotte. I just got back from Arizona. I have a few more visits coming up later this week.”

Smith is from Houma, La., which is an hour’s drive from New Orleans, so he should count as a local prospect and not factor into the limit of 30 players the Saints can host on official visits. Teams are obviously intrigued by the former five-star high school recruit, but questions have been raised by media analysts centering on his lack of production at LSU. The Tigers were too easily beaten at the point of attack for a unit with such a strong recruiting pedigree.

Smith acknowledged that disparity himself, telling Melo: “I’m going to continue getting better at the next level. I think my potential means I can do whatever I need to do to be whoever I want to be. The sky’s the limit for me. I’m looking forward to reaching that potential. … I want to be an impact player for whichever organization drafts me. I’m excited for my rookie season. I want to set the tone for what’s going to be a successful career.”

Still, Smith finished his LSU career with 944 defensive snaps played in 20 games — with 6.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss, respectable numbers for a defensive tackle on that sample size. But you’d like to have seen more from him. Maybe NFL coaching in a professional environment can get more out of him. Smith’s projections are all over the place but he’s generally expected to  be picked in the third or fourth rounds of this year’s draft. Maybe he ends up staying in Louisiana.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire