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30-Days, 30 Prospects: DAY 13 – Michigan Defensive Tackle Mazi Smith

Defensive tackle Mazi Smith might just be the guy the Raiders need to anchor the interior defensive line. Smith, listed at 6′ 3″ and over 330 lbs, has supreme athleticism and strength, dominating at any position of the interior defensive line. Smith is the prototypical nose tackle with the ability to dominate and clog both A-gaps on any given play. Additionally, he can also be placed at the 3-technique, showing exceptional athleticism with his pass rushing skills. In fact, most of Smith’s damage is done at the 3-technique, displaying an imposing secondary pass rush and the lateral quickness to chase down the quarterback when needed. Smith also has freakish strength, having been reported to have close-grip bench pressed 550 lbs and putting up 315-lbs 22 times. His powerful hands seem to confirm the report, as it seems effortless when he sheds blocks vs. interior lineman. Running a 4.85-second 40-yard sprint at the combine also confirms the speed and explosiveness that has been seen on tape, as he shows nimbleness and intuition when reading the run, often keeping up laterally with running backs in order to make the tackle. Smith’s lower body, core strength, and leverage are also considered the best in the draft class, holding up consistently against double teams, establishing a low center of gravity.

Some items that Smith must sharpen is his flexibility, as he tends to look stiff coming around the edge at the 3-technique. Additionally, when Smith’s first move off the line does not work, he shows no secondary plan of attack, taking himself out of play. These are all coachable items that can be fixed, however, considering Smith comes into rookie mini camp and beyond with the mindset to sharpen up the weaknesses.

Selecting Mazi Smith at #38-overall makes the most sense for the Raiders, considering that they likely do not address the position in the first round of this year’s draft. Smith’s versatility, along with that supreme athleticism, size, and strength, makes him a prime candidate to be the anchor of the Raiders interior defensive line for years to come.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Top Beatz

    April 25, 2023 at 6:30 pm

    Mazi is the one realistic DT that I believe can enhance the defensive line and put pressure up the middle. I just hope Zeigler feels the same way too

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