The Cowboys might have finally found the answer to their run game issues. If training camp is any indication, Mazi Smith looks like a difference-maker for the Dallas defense already.
Strength is never in question when Mazi Smith is the topic of discussion. The Michigan alum boasts otherworldly power in his 337-pound frame. He threw up 34 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press drill at the NFL Combine. But his tape is — somehow — even more impressive than that.
Smith regularly overpowered and walked offensive linemen back into the pocket. The Wolverine defender rarely brought down the quarterback, but his 34 quarterback hurries as a starter highlight how often he disrupts the pocket from inside. Smith’s 53 defensive stops since 2021 ranked among the best in the country.
The Cowboys Tab Mazi Smith To Fortify Run Defense
Aside from the production, Smith is a joy to watch on tape. He uses violent hands to engage his assignment; once he has a grip, there is no escape. The 22-year-old maintains leverage, regularly serving as the low man in a scrum. All of these traits led to the Cowboys selecting Smith in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
Since arriving in Dallas, the highly-coveted prospect has only cemented such lofty status. His new teammates are gushing over the rookie. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe Micah Parsons. The star pass rusher said, “[Mazi] is super explosive, super strong. He’s gotten better every day.”
Micah Parsons Can Say Enough About Mazi Smith At Cowboys Training Camp
Parsons continued, “He’s like, ‘Man teach me how to pass rush. Teach me how to get off. Teach me how to do this’. He’s been emphasizing that and just getting better and better.” It is normal for veterans to hype the new batch of rookies, but this sounds like Parsons means every word.
Clips from practice show Smith rag-dolling every guard that stands in his way. Veteran Tyron Smith gave Mazi a “welcome to the NFL” moment a couple of times last week, but all in all, the youngster is holding his own against an experienced unit.
For Smith, it isn’t about fame or fortune or praise. And sometimes, it isn’t even about football. “I don’t even like football. I like hitting people,” is a direct quote from the Michigan alum at Cowboys training camp. Don’t worry Mazi, we are only a month away from “real” football! There will be plenty of opportunities to punish opponents.
Will A Nagging Knee Issue Sideline Smith To Start The Season?
Unfortunately, Dallas may have to start the year without its prized first-round pick. Smith exited practice earlier this week and is slated for an MRI on his knee. The rookie has dealt with tendinitis for much of the offseason, so this could be more of a precautionary measure than anything. For NFL fans eager to see Smith’s presence on the Cowboys, we can only hope for the quickest path back to the gridiron.