The Dallas Cowboys took defensive tackle Mazi Smith with the 26th overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft,
but fans should moderate their expectations for the former Michigan standout. According to The Athletic's Saad Yousuf and Jon Machota,
Smith is not anticipated to start but will be an important component of the team's defensive line rotation.
"With a first-round pick, the stakes are always high." On September 4, 2023, Yousuf and Machota reported, "
Dallas drafted Smith to help shut down the run while also providing pass rush up the middle." "He's not ready to start yet, but the plan is for him to be a factor in their DT rotation."
Smith signed a four-year, $13.2 million rookie contract with a basic salary of $750,000 in 2023. The Cowboys are likely to rely on veteran defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins,
whom the team acquired through trade at the end of last season. This offseason, Dallas re-signed the veteran to a one-year, $1.3 million contract.
Smith would have flourished in training camp and forced his way into the starting lineup in an ideal world. Smith did not struggle during the preseason,
but there were occasions when he did not make his presence known on the field. Analyst Voch Lombardi is seeking to reassure Cowboys fans by stating that Smith
does not need to start to have an effect this season."That just lets you know like the Doom and Gloom nature of this fan base right,"
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