Even though he has not played an NFL snap, Mazi Smith’s career as a Dallas Cowboys is already off to a good start. All the talk coming out of Dallas has been positive regarding the 2023 first-round pick.
Cowboys’ head coach Mike McCarthy echoed this sentiment when asked about the 22-year-old’s progress at the beginning of June.
“For a guy like Mazi, you can’t wait to see him in pads, He’s ready to show everybody what he can do in pads … we said this during the evaluation process: we feel there’s a lot more pass rush potential in his body than based on the opportunities he has shown in his college career. So, I love the program he came from and the way he’s wired and physically, but his emotional connection and so forth. He’s off to a good start.”
Smith clearly possesses the strength and athleticism that give him the potential to become one of the better young defensive tackles in all of football. So much so, that in a recent article at Bleacher Report, Smith was named as one of the six rookies “expected to develop, contribute right away in 2023”.
Here’s what was said about why the former Michigan Wolverine can make an immediate positive impact in Dallas.
The 22-year-old is an exceptional athlete. Entering the 2022 campaign, The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman listed him as the nation’s top athletic standout. The 6’3”, 323-pound nose tackle’s physical traits are easily noticeable.
“It’s hard this time of year,” Cowboys right guard Zack Martin told reporters. “We’re slowing it down a little bit this offseason. But you can tell on tape. For a big man, he bends extremely well and obviously very strong, everyone knows that. He’s going to be a great addition to our team. We should have some good battles in training camp.”
With NFL coaching and excellent every-day competition in practice, the Cowboys should coax the most out of Smith, as he becomes the anchor of the team’s defense.
Smith’s long-term potential played a large part in Dallas selecting him with the 26th-overall pick, but that does not mean they don’t expect him to contribute right away. Smith will immediately play an important role on the Dallas defense and will hopefully give them the athletic, run-stuffing defensive tackle the team has been searching for.
So far, the rookie defensive tackle is off to a hot start. Let’s hope the positives keep coming for Mazi Smith when training camp rolls around.