Former Michigan Wolverine defensive tackle Mazi Smith was audibly excited to receive the phone call he had been waiting his entire life for. First, he spoke to the vice president of player personnel, then the team owner/general manager, then the head coach, and then the defensive coordinator.
While the names of Will McClay, Jerry Jones, Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn are important, Smith was more focused on the team name.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Mazi Smith with the No. 25 pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
First war room secret audio from the 2023 Draft and it's clear "Maz" is happy to be a Cowboy! #CowboysDraft | @ATT | @mazismith pic.twitter.com/2Fs9v0ohlZ— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) April 28, 2023
It’s hard to tell who is happier, Smith or the Cowboys’ organization, but it is not hard to see why.
Smith becomes the third Wolverine to be selected by — and fourth to join — Dallas since 2015. In 2017, the Cowboys selected cornerback Jourdan Lewis, who is still with the team, and defensive end Taco Charlton. Tight end Sean McKeon was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys in 2020 and has carved out a roster spot and rotational role.
Smith brings a gap-filling presence that will immediately help the Cowboys improve at stopping the run. Last season, Dallas was No. 22 in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 2,198 rushing yards on the season.
Furthermore, the attention Smith will draw will help create one-on-one opportunities for the Cowboys’ talented pass rushers on the outside like Micah Parsons.
It’s a match made in Dallas and the catalyst of chaos should do more of the same for the Cowboys.