Stats, facts and fit: New Jaguars DL Maason Smith

Jacksonville on Friday night selected its second LSU prospect in as many picks in the 2024 NFL draft, taking Tigers defensive lineman Maason Smith at No. 48 overall.

Jaguars Wire analyzes Jacksonville’s selection of Smith below, reviewing his background, college stats, NFL combine results, projected fit in Jacksonville’s offense and what he said after being picked.

Maason Smith, DL, LSU

Oct 14, 2023; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; LSU Tigers defensive tackle Maason Smith (0) pressures Auburn Tigers quarterback Payton Thorne (1) during the second quarter at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports


From Houma (La.) Terrebonne, Smith was a consensus five-star prospect in the 2021 recruiting class. He collected 31 scholarship offers from across the country but signed with the blue-blood program fewer than two hours down the road, LSU.

Smith was the prize of Ed Orgeron’s final recruiting class as the Tigers’ head coach. Appropriately, he took the field in nine games and made four starts as a freshman, tallying 19 tackles including five for loss and four sacks, en route to Freshman All-American and Freshman All-SEC honors.

But the momentum Smith quickly generated in college was derailed at the beginning of the 2022 campaign, as he tore the ACL in his left knee against Florida State in Week 1, after leaping to celebrate a tackle by his teammate. Smith missed the rest of the campaign.

Following a one-game suspension to begin the season, related to a pre-Name, Image and Likeness autograph session, Smith returned to start 12 games at defensive tackle for LSU in 2023. He posted 28 tackles with 4.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and two defended passes before entering the 2024 NFL draft.

College stats

via LSU Sports and Pro Football Focus

  • 47 tackles

  • 6.5 sacks

  • 9.5 tackles for loss

  • Two defended passes

  • 39 quarterback pressures

  • 25 defensive stops (tackles that constitute a failed play for the offense)

  • Career snaps: 596 at defensive tackle, 142 at defensive end/edge rusher, 54 at nose tackle

NFL combine results

via MockDraftable

  • 6-foot-5 and 1/8-inch (93rd percentile)

  • 306 pounds (54th percentile)

  • 35-inch arm length (94th percentile)

  • 84 and 5/8-inches (95th percentile)

  • Nine-inch hand (fourth percentile)

  • 5.01-second 40-yard dash (70th percentile)

  • 1.75-second 10-yard split (49th percentile)

  • 31-inch vertical jump (71st percentile)

  • 7.62-second three-cone drill (56th percentile)

  • 4.69-second 20-yard shuttle (43rd percentile)

Projected fit

Smith primarily aligned as a three-technique defensive tackle in college and best projects at that position long term, with the size/strength combo and athleticism required to both overpower and outmaneuver interior linemen at the pro level.

But following Arik Armstead’s free agency signing in March, snaps will be limited for Smith at the position during his rookie year. He could offer Armstead a breather by playing in a rotation, but as a second-round pick, Smith is likely to move around to contribute as often as Jacksonville is comfortable with deploying him.

New Jaguars defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen is likely to deploy multiple defensive fronts within his scheme, making Smith a candidate to virtually move across the interior, from nose tackle to five-technique.


“Man, first and foremost I’m really excited. I feel like for me, honestly, I don’t think it could have ended up any better. Not too far from home, very warm, things I’m very much so used to. I had a great visit with the defensive coordinator [Ryan Nielsen] and the defensive line coach [Jeremy Garrett]. You know, I actually had a relationship with the defensive line coach when he was at Vanderbilt University when I was coming from high school. So, from the jump of the conversations that we had, they was just real. And for me, I just like to have realness around me, people that’s not going to shy away from telling me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear. A lot of guys run from that, man, and I run to it.

“So, just being able to get that feel from them, them also having a lot of confidence in me and the abilities that I bring to the game. My defensive coordinator’s also there, from this past year, Matt House. That’s my guy, been my guy since he got to LSU. I’m just fortunate enough to be able to be around him. And my dawg B.T. [Jaguars first-round pick Brian Thomas Jr.], man. We’re gonna rock the world man, and we’re going to do what we’ve gotta do.” — defensive lineman Maason Smith on his second-round NFL draft selection by Jacksonville 

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire