New Orleans Saints 2023 NFL draft scouting report: Michigan DT Mazi Smith
The New Orleans Saints may have lucked out with the fact that Michigan defensive lineman Mazi Smith didn’t work out at the NFL combine. The Saints still need to add to the interior, and Smith is one of the best options in the draft.
Smith is a big man, at 6’3 and 323 pounds. He’s an athletic freak and it’s a shame that he hasn’t been able to run during the combine or pro day, but he did lead all tackles with bench press reps during the combine with 34.
His size, speed, strength combination will make him a force to be reckoned with at the next level. He can come in and work immediately in multiple phases of the game. There is some worry about how he’ll develop as a pass rusher in the NFL, but given his athleticism I wouldn’t say it’s out of the question. He’ll at the worst immediately be one of the best run defenders on the team.
In three years of play at Michigan, he had 88 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. Nothing that really pops, but when you delve into the numbers it looks a bit better. He had some good pressures and QB hits even if he didn’t always get the sack. A statement that Saints fans are used to, but is more acceptable on the interior as opposed to the edge rushers. He had 35 stops in the run game last season, which is a very good mark.
He lined up mostly in the B-gap during college, sliding over to the A-gap for a few snaps each game. It’s easy to see him fitting into New Orleans’ lineup as an early pick in the 2023 draft.
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