Defensive lineman Mazi Smith is in Orchard Park, NY today for a top-30 pre-draft visit with the Buffalo Bills.
National NFL Insider Ian Rapoport was the first to break the news that Smith was on an official visit with the Bills — one of his 20 scheduled meetings and/or visits with NFL teams to this point ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft.
#Michigan DL Mazi Smith is on a Top 30 visit today with the #Bills today, source said. He's had over 20 meetings or visits with teams, including the #Chiefs and #Steelers meeting with him at Michigan. Among others: #Bears, #Eagles, #Cowboys, #AZCardinals, and #Saints.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 12, 2023
In three seasons at Michigan, Smith played in 35 games — making 88 tackles, six tackles for loss, one half sack, three passes defended, while forcing and recovering one fumble each.
At 6’3” and 323 pounds, Mazi Smith profiles as a two-down run-stuffing interior defensive lineman in the NFL. Smith has an ideal combination of speed, strength, and physicality to be a consistent disruptive force in offensive backfields. For his size, Smith move with surprising swiftness and displays solid athleticism as an aggressor on defense. Though he didn’t run at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine, Mazi Smith ran a 4.85-second 40-yard dash at Michigan’s pro day.
Per The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman:
“Smith does 22 reps on the bench press, but that’s with 325 (not 225). He close-grip benched 550 pounds. He vertical-jumps 33 inches. He broad-jumped 9-4 1/2. Smith, who had 37 tackles last season, has clocked a 4.41 shuttle time, which would’ve tied the best by any defensive tackle at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine, and it would’ve been better than any defensive tackle weighing 310 pounds or more in the past decade. His 6.95 3-cone time would’ve been by far the fastest among defensive tackles in Indianapolis.”
As a pass rusher, Smith relies on his sheer strength and power to forcefully drive offensive lineman back into the quarterback — but that’s essentially the extent of his repertoire, so he will need to work on refining his pass-rush game as a pro if he hopes to become a force on 3rd & Long situations. Smith must improve on his inconsistent motor at the snap, and his arm length isn’t ideal to consistently and effectively shed would-be blockers.
Does Mazi Smith fit the Bills? That remains to be seen due to his lack of pass-rushing ability, but general manager Brandon Beane and the organization seem just as intrigued by his potential as the rest of the league. Though he may work best out of 3-4 defensive sets, Smith represents dominance against NFL run games no matter the scheme in which he operates. Mazi Smith’s current draft stock projects him to be selected on Day 2.