The pressure is mounting for Cowboys second-year DT Mazi Smith

The Pressure Is Mounting For Cowboys Second-Year Dt Mazi Smith

The pressure is mounting for second-year DT Mazi Smith

' second-year DT Mazi Smith feeling the pressure intensify

By Ben Grimaldi on 2024-07-10 09:55:45

The Pressure Is Mounting For Cowboys Second-Year Dt Mazi Smith

When one is a member of the Dallas , there's no shortage of pressure as the eyes of the football world focus in. When that person is also a first-round pick for 's Team, that burden is amplified even greater.

For last year's top selection, defensive tackle Mazi Smith, the pressure is mounting after a subpar rookie season.

The story of Smith has been told many times this offseason. The former standout at Michigan never got comfortable with the NFL game under former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. Smith failed to make an impact at a position where the Cowboys were in dire need of help.

The hope is that Year 2 Smith can be the player the organization expected when they used the No. 26 overall selection on the Wolverine. There was a learning curve that Smith never got over last year, but in 2024 the defense desperately needs the second-year DT to be a quality player.

As much as Cowboys are depending on Smith, the rest of the league sees the pressure growing on the young DT as well. Smith was listed as one of the Top 10 players under pressure for the upcoming season.

As one of six first-round picks from the 2023 draft class mentioned, Smith's place on the list is well warranted. Early selections are expected to be on the field and contribute, which didn't happen with Smith, who started just three games and played in only 28% of the snaps. It took an injury for Smith to be thrust into a bigger role, which wasn't a good sign.

Last year the Cowboys had a veteran starter in Johnathan Hankins to soften the blow of Smith not producing, but that safety net no longer exists. With Hankins now in Seattle, Dallas needs Smith to play like his draft pedigree suggests. As a freak , the team needs to see some of those traits translate on the field under new coordinator Mike Zimmer.

It doesn't help that Smith could be behind the eight-ball again after shoulder surgery in the offseason, but Zimmer's arrival might be what Smith needs to get back on track. The Cowboys' DC has mentioned putting weight back onto Smith and getting him in better position for his scheme in year two.

Smith is projected to be one of the starting DTs for the Cowboys, who have one of the weakest groups of interior defensive lines in the league. If Smith falters again, they team doesn't have the depth or quality to replace him. Another bad year would also lead to the dreaded ‘bust' word to be thrown around just two years into his career.

The Cowboys have elite playmakers on their defense, but they are woefully thin on paper at DT. It's been one of the weak spots on the defense for years and Smith was supposed to solve the problem. He wasn't the answer as a rookie, but Smith's still young and can become the player the organization envisioned.

Dallas defense needs the best from Mazi Smith in year two and the pressure is on.

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