2023 mock NFL Draft: 49ers watch NFC get significantly stronger
On the clock: Pick No. 21: Los Angeles Chargers – Mazi Smith, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
The Los Angeles Chargers finally cut Jerry Tillery, so they need someone new in the middle of the defensive line. Mazi Smith can fit right in as a nose tackle, as the Chargers definitely need to improve their run defense.
Smith can best be described as a two-down nose tackle. While he doesn’t provide much of a pass rush, recording only half a sack this season, he’s an excellent run stuffer who can anchor a 3-4 at nose tackle.
Smith is already a good size at 6-foot-3 and 326 pounds, and he is already adept at working through double teams. Tough to move at the point of attack due to his size, Smith is able to move blockers around and stuff running lanes.
While a two-down nose tackle would raise some eyebrows, Smith is so good at what he does, and this is such a big need for the Chargers, that it makes perfect sense.
Smith can do the job well on running downs, while the Bolts can then bring in a pass-rushing specialist on passing down.