Note: This article was part of a pre-draft series on Michigan prospects.
Former Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith appeared in 35 games during his collegiate career.
28 starts, 88 tackles (39 solo), a consensus first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2022 — Smith became one of Michigan’s most important players on defense the past two seasons.
Here’s a scouting report of Smith, who will be selected in the early rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.
- Age: 21
- Height: 6-3
- Weight: 323
- Bench Press: 34
- Posted the best bench press total among all players at the combine — 34 reps of 225 pounds
- Was named the No. 1 freak in college football by The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman
- Named a team captain for the 2022 season
- Very strong and a hard hitter
- Was double-teamed often and held his own
- Elite run-defender
- Can fit in a 3-4 and 4-3 defense
- Arm length
- Didn’t get to the quarterback often enough. Pass-rush prowess must improve
- Pled guilty to a misdemeanor weapons charge
- Not always quick off the snap
- Rarely uses a bull-rush
- Only 6 tackles for loss and half a sack in three seasons at Michigan, which are surprisingly low figures for an interior lineman.
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Check out this video breakdown of Smith by Dan Plocher
Plocher’s Point of View
Mazi Smith was a monster up front for the Michigan Wolverines. His 6-foot-3, 323-pound frame made him one of the best run stuffers in college football in 2022. Smith is fantastically strong. He put up 34 reps on the bench press at the NFL combine, the most among any defensive lineman. I think he is a Top-5 interior defensive lineman in this draft and has a chance to be a plus starter in the league.
Smith's strength and ability to stop the run in a stout manner will have him rising up draft boards. As of now, scouts perceive Smith as a two-down player who will need to improve his pass-rushing prowess to receive every-down playing time. Smith’s upside could have him being drafted in the first round, but his average arm length and (now resolved) legal troubles, which Smith said NFL teams did ask about, could be reasons that he’s a second or third-round selection.
Smith would provide immediate solid depth as part of a rotation on running downs, in that manner he could be an impact player right out of the gate. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him have more success getting to the quarterback in the NFL. Smith was doubled a lot in college, and that won’t be the case in the pros. Smith is an intriguing prospect and it’s highly likely he will continue to improve and stick around in the NFL for a decade.