I’m wondering about Mazi Smith. Seems like a guy with his profile should be a first rounder. But his college stats seem a little underwhelming. Certainly not in the same zip code as someone like Wilfork. Is there some untapped potential there?
It’s not the deepest DT class but there are some good fits for the Pats. 2 guys I really like are very similar: Keeanu Benton and Mazi Smith. These are day 2 players.
Mazi is massive and super athletic. He is a freak of freaks with incredible power. He’s going to be an elite or near elite run defender. He has great length and violence - can two gap excellently or penetrate. Will dominate and control OL and rag doll them as a run defender. Is often late to get off the snap, pad level can be high, and while he flashes as a pass rusher it’s a work in progress. He needs to learn to anchor better against double teams but should be able to do that. He can play all over the formation. Really good burst and bend and is deadly on twists and stunts. Can bend like an edge rusher. When it comes to stacking and shedding or penetrating vs the run he is exceptional. Huge tackle radius and he can adjust to ball carriers at a high level. High floor as a run defender and high ceiling if he can get coached up with his pass rush technique, snap timing, and anchoring vs double teams. Has all-pro traits.
Keeanu Benton is similar to Mazi but he’s about 30 pounds lighter and not quite as good of an athlete (no holes in his game though athletically and he is an 8.86 RAS). Another guy with very good length and who excels as a run defender. Tremendous upper body strength and who also has work to do Vs double teams. His stack and shed and tackling are all top notch. Can two-gap or penetrate. Like Mazi he controls the point of attack 1:1. Also like Mazi he lacks refinement as a pass rusher but flashes a decent repertoire. He dominated as a pass rusher at the senior bowl. Both guys have super high motors, play a lot of snaps, and don’t get tired. Like Mazi has some pad level issues he needs to fix but very good burst and bend for a DT. Good on twists and stunts. When his pad level is right his long-arm swim combo is deadly.
Keeanu is more of a 3 tech but can also play base end and maybe nose tackle but he’s a tick light for that.
Both guys are tough as nails with pro bowl athletic traits and need work as pass rushers.