Mazi Smith is this season’s first-round rookie for the Dallas Cowboys. Every year, for the most part, there is that particular player who has to carry the lofty expectations as we saw exercised a bit following last week’s preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks.
While Smith may take a bit of time to fully develop, as is normal for interior defensive linemen, there is very little likelihood that the Cowboys are regretting drafting him. We have heard constantly from the team about how they valued him, and even shortly after the draft the mothership released a video that showed a bit of the process going into that pick that revealed how Dallas chose Smith over Syracuse OT Matthew Bergeron.
Friday we got more clarity on this front, specific clarity if you will. You may recall that leading up to the draft that Dallas was connected with many of the top tight end targets like Dalton Kincaid and Michael Mayer. In fact, the Buffalo Bills may have been so hip to that to the point that they traded up one spot in front of the Cowboys in order to select Kincaid themselves.
That may have all been for naught.
The Cowboys seem to have only been debating between Mazi Smith and Matthew Bergeron
There are an infinite number of sports documentaries these days and the latest one partly centers around new Dallas Cowboys running back Deuce Vaughn. Roku has a new film called The Pick Is In where a handful of this year’s draftees, Vaughn among them, had their path to the NFL documented.
A clip from the documentary surfaced on the internet on Friday and while Vaughn is one of the subjects, in this particular instance it is Dallas’ first-round pick that is being discussed. Cowboys brass can be seen debating between only Mazi Smith and Matthew Bergeron, the same Bergeron who the Atlanta Falcons took early in the second round.
Full deliberation in the Cowboys war room between Bergeron and Mazi. It seems like both were rated 12th and 13th on their board? Also shows the Chiefs offered a 3rd to trade into their spot pic.twitter.com/5qL6XX5j5i— Billy M (@BillyM_91) August 25, 2023
There is no real mention of the tight end position by the group which seems to be an indication that they were focused on the trenches all along. Mike McCarthy mentions that everything about what they had done to that point since last season ended was in the name of improving their run defense and obviously Smith was the pick which corroborates that.
Interestingly, Stephen Jones fields a call at one point that is from the Kansas City Chiefs. KC offered their third-round pick to jump up with Dallas which would have moved the Cowboys from 26th to 31st. We know now that Bergeron made it past Thursday night so he could have been there, and that could have created an entirely different draft class for the Cowboys. But at the time, it was no sure thing Bergeron would drop that far.
The Cowboys seem very happy with what they did and while Smith had a less-than-stellar game last week, he falls in line with their efforts to stop the run. Soon enough we will see all of those efforts on full display.