2023 mock NFL Draft 3.0: Final 11th-hour edition (with trades)
On the clock: Pick No. 21: Los Angeles Chargers – Mazi Smith, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
Mock Draft 1.0 – Mazi Smith, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
Mock Draft 2.0 – Mazi Smith, Defensive Tackle, Michigan
The Los Angeles Chargers have a problem with blowing games in embarrassing fashion, but an equally big problem is their atrocious run defense that desperately needs attending. Mazi Smith is an elite run defender who can instantly help with the biggest problem separating the Chargers from the AFC elite. Smith is a perfect fit as a powerful nose tackle or two-down defensive tackle in a 4-3 base defense.
Smith won’t give you much of a pass rush, only recording 0.5 sacks for the year at Michigan. That being said he doesn’t need to contribute much as the Chargers have an elite EDGE duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack.
A good size at 6-foot-3 and 326 pounds, Smith had a lot of experience handling double teams during his time at Michigan. He looks like the perfect fit for the Chargers. He’s very tough to move around even when teams devote their attention to him, and there’s no doubt he’s the best pure run defender available.
While there’s some question about whether or not a first-round pick is worth taking for a two-down player, there is some room for him to improve in that role. While he doesn’t have to be a big contributor, even three or four sacks a season could make this look like a big pick down the line.