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Mazi Smith could help fill a critical gap

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2023 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Commanders

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOV 19 Illinois at Michigan Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Mazi Smith, DT
School: Michigan | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’3” / 337 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 3

Player Comp: Dontari Poe

Player Overview

Career totals: 70 tackles, 46 pressures, 2 sacks, 6.0 tackles for loss

Smith started all 28 games during the course of his junior and senior seasons at Michigan. As a junior, he receiver All Big 10 honorable mention recognition, and helped pave the way for #2 overall draft pick, pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson. As a senior, he was consensus first team All Big 10 and was named the Wolverine’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith was described by Iowa’s head coach, Kirk Ferentz as “looking like a refrigerator, except he can move.” Specializing in “block destruction,” Smith didn’t necessarily post gaudy numbers himself, but he had the capacity to be a game wrecker.

He was also selected as the freakiest of Bruce Feldman’s “freaks” in 2022:

His former teammate, Aidan Hutchinson, almost was our top guy in 2021, but this year a Wolverine is the No. 1 Freak in college football. The 6-foot-3, 337-pound senior has rare power and agility. So rare, in fact, it’s hard to find the right superlative to begin with. But let’s start with this: Smith does 22 reps on the bench press, but that’s with 325 (not 225). He close-grip benched 550 pounds. He vertical-jumps 33 inches. He broad-jumped 9-4 1/2. Smith, who had 37 tackles last season, has clocked a 4.41 shuttle time, which would’ve tied the best by any defensive tackle at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, and it would’ve been better than any defensive tackle weighing 310 pounds or more in the past decade. His 6.95 3-cone time would’ve been by far the fastest among defensive tackles in Indianapolis. The fastest was 7.33. Smith’s 60-yard shuttle time is 11.90.


  • Incredible strength and athleticism.
  • Is able to shed blocks and absorb contact.
  • Has a full suite of pass rushing moves.
  • Highly effective as a run stopper, and often forced double teams.


  • Can be slow off the football with his initial move.
  • Still needs to develop as a pass rusher.
  • Has struggled with being consistently productive.
  • May need to improve conditioning.
  • Pled guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge (carrying a concealed weapon without a license) in December.

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

Whether a player like Mazi Smith would make sense for Washington to draft is wholly dependant on how they decide to handle the contract situation with Daron Payne this offseason. If Payne sticks around, the team should be in good shape at interior defensive line for the next several years, with Payne, Jon Allen, Phil Mathis, and John Ridgeway all locked up for a few more seasons.

If Payne walks, interior defensive line becomes an area of moderately serious need, and a player of Smith’s caliber would be a very wise addition. Indications are that Smith is still far from a finished project as well, and that working alongside a seasoned pro like Jon Allen and under the guidance of Ryan Kerrigan, could help to hone his elite athleticism into an even more impactful style of play.


What round pick would you use on Smith?

This poll is closed

  • 10%
    (43 votes)
  • 43%
    (181 votes)
  • 30%
    (127 votes)
  • 15%
    I’m not interested.
    (66 votes)
417 votes total Vote Now