At No. 45 overall and 13th in the second round, the Houston Texans select LSU DL Masson Smith. Adding Smith to Will Anderson JR will create the scariest pass rush in the AFC South. Be afraid, Trevor Lawrence.
According to ESPN, Maason Smith of Terrebonne High School was rated as a 4-star recruit, and 247 Sports gave him a 5-star grade. Subsequently, LSU heavily recruited Smith, ultimately leading him to join the university after high school. As a freshman in 2021, Smith participated in nine contests, playing 354 plays for the Tigers and being credited with 12 tackles, two assists, and 12 stops.
Additionally, he demonstrated his pass-rushing skills with 16 pressures, consisting of 12 QB hurries, no QB hits, and four sacks. However, due to an injury in 2022, Smith could only take part in one game, taking part in eight plays and not achieving any tackles, assists, or stops.
Smith showcases an impressive closing speed and usually finishes off plays successfully. His straight-line speed and range of tackling could be improved, but he is still a capable run defender who can set the edge. In Bruce Feldman's Freak's List - ranked No.12 - it was noted that he reached 19.5 mph on GPS and achieved an 11-foot standing vertical jump. His length and strength are enough to ward off offensive linemen, but he should use it better.
He usually keeps his pad level low and uses the power to push the pocket with the bull rush, but he could use more work at the point of attack. He is also an agile run-stopper at the end, able to extend and grab backs from the backside due to his agility and hustle.
Smith's physicality and high motor make him a formidable opponent, and his spin move is of NFL caliber. The Texans score well with this pick and are building a solid team on both sides of the ball. Smith would be a top-15 pick if it wasent for this senseless injury, at 45 he is a steal.