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Mazi Smith’s biggest driving factor: “It’s all about making that man across from me remember me.”

With the 26th pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys selected Mazi Smith — a 6'3″, 337-pound from Michigan.

To some, the selection came as a surprise.

Leading up to the draft, there was a lot of speculation that the Cowboys would add to their with their first-round pick.

But to others, the choice was logical.

It was received as a fantastic move to improve what was a consistent issue last season for an otherwise elite defensive unit.


Smith, himself, seems to have no questions or doubts about what he brings to the table as a Dallas Cowboy. The mission is clear.

Just after he was drafted, in an interview on The Draft Show, he explained what he plans to do for 's .

“First and foremost,” he said, “my first job is to become an elite run defender and make sure I'm plugging [the] gaps up front. Make sure I'm making plays and stopping that run.”

If his reputation is any indication, “stopping that run” won't be an issue at all for Smith.

Per 's profile via , “Mazi Smith is one of the most athletic NTs to enter the in a while. Not compact, but tall and wide. His flashes of pass-rush ability are outstanding; push-pull, arm over, straight bull rush all very solid… He's not a tremendous block-shedder right now. However, he tracks down RBs very well for being a large NT…”


During his , Smith explained that he is driven to impact the game in favor of his team.

He recorded only half of a sack during his college career at Michigan. That number may be a reflection of his commitment to stopping the run, however.

In 30 total games played at Michigan, Smith recorded 88 tackles, 39 of them solo.

When asked what drives him to perform, Smith responded, “Every team I've been on, I've been one of the players that was gonna help win a game. That's gotta continue. The driving factor my whole life, I always wanted to be a dog. When I [get] on the field, it's all about being a dog. It's all about making that man across from me remember me. That's my driving motivation.”

Chief Operating Officer explained the selection of Mazi Smith as a needs-based decision.

“Mazi obviously brings an element to our run game, stopping the run, that other than Hankins, we don't have.”

He continued, “We felt like [it] was a great fit for us and really did something that makes us a better defense at the end of the day.”

Stephen Jones isn't the only member of the Cowboys organization that recognized a need for a player like Smith.

reached out to Dan Quinn on Thursday afternoon. He let Quinn know that Mazi was his choice for the Cowboys' first-round draft pick.

In the below, Parsons literally jumps for joy when he learns that his wish was granted.

Since Thursday night, reactions to the Cowboys' selection of Mazi Smith have been all over the place. It's been described as smart and strategic.

Others have called it a reach that ultimately won't pay off.

But right now, Mazi Smith is seen by the Dallas Cowboys organization as a much-needed and valuable new member of the defense. And that is what matters.

Jazz Monet
Jazz Monet
Sports culture analyst. Sports competition enthusiast. Host of Bitches Love Sports podcast. Personal trainer. Roller derby athlete and trainer.

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