Will Mazi Smith fix the Cowboys’ issues stopping the run? | PFF 2023 NFL Draft Show

The Pro Football Focus live draft show breaks down the Cowboys' decision to grab the former University of Michigan DT with the 26th pick in this year's draft.

Video Transcript

- Dallas has had

- Yeah.

- Serious issues--

- Yeah. Yep.

- Stopping the run. For years. Just having defensive tackles. Massey Smith, one of the Bruce Feldman freaks, moves extremely well. Has some of those to gap reps where he's just stacking, shedding, and all that stuff in the run game. Massey Smith is a good player out of Michigan. So if he's going in the first-- he was a fringe first rounder for a lot of teams, but this felt like the fit for Dallas if he was going to go.

- Yeah, and you just look at what Dallas have had on that interior for years now. But even last season, the highest run defense grade from any interior defender on the Cowboys was 61.3. Everybody else was lower than that. In the 50s. In the 40s. They have had these gaping holes up the middle of that defense for years. And they've added a couple of players that can certainly play and get reps there. But Massey Smith to come in and really try and shore up that run defense is one thing.

- The only thing that I thought was weird about him and I was like, do they intentionally not come off the ball. You know because it was like, it's almost like he was playing linebacker in some ways. It was-- you know, it's like I wanted him to go. But maybe they just want that read and react defense in Michigan. I don't know, but that was the thing that unsettled me just a little bit about him. But--

- I wrote down a bit-- he's a bit passive in the run game at times. So, yeah. I don't know if that was scheme based--

- Maybe it is. I don't know.

- But it's the at times part that's strange, right. If you pop out on the Ohio State tape, you'd be like this guy is a top 20 player.

- Well, that's the thing. No question about it.

- You pop on the Indiana tape. You go, I'm not taking this guy in the first round. It was way hot and cold for me.

- It's how you-- it's how you spin that, right. Our guy Dave Suffer, Michigan. He's saying he's at his best in the big game. So, Ohio State. The playoff game against TCU. Those are two best grades of the season. You know, big game player.

- Or you can look at it and say, that's pretty wildly inconsistent. Where is that against the worst opposition?