Should Chicago Bears hope Mazi Smith falls to them in round two?

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears need to find some defensive line help in this draft. Is Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith a name that they need to keep their eyes on?

Chicago Bears Draft Profile: Michigan DL, Mazi Smith

Mazi Smith barely played during 2020 as a redshirt freshman. However, he played over 1,200 snaps in the most recent two seasons for the Maize and Blue. He has 346 career snaps in the A-gap, and 834 snaps in the B-gap.

Smith saw his pressures go from 21 to 25, and his run stops go from 21 to 32 in his final season. Smith attended the NFL combine but did not work out. He only did the broad jump and vertical at his pro day. This is surprising because he had a reputation as a freak athlete, but his pro day numbers were just average.

How Mazi Smith fits in the NFL

Mazi Smith will fit best in the NFL as a 0 or 1-technique playing the nose tackle role. He can slide out to the three-technique at times, but he does not get a great first step off of the football. He is impressively powerful, though.

Smith can be seen bench pressing offensive lineman away from, and holding them off with a long arm as he fills gaps with his wide body. For how wide his body is, he does a good job of being able to get lean, and squeeze in gaps and fill holes. He also shows impressive bend as he can dip around tackles.

That is where most of his pass rush comes from. He does not get a great first step and does not get many sacks or tackles for loss. That is because he is slow off of the ball and has to wiggle and weave his way into the backfield. As a run defender, he is better at planting his feet and holding his gap.

Other sites will knock his stamina and he wears down in games. That can show up, but Michigan was asking him to play 50-60 snaps per game at times. In the NFL that number is going to be much closer to 30-40.

NFL Comparison for Mazi Smith

The best NFL Comparison for Mazi Smith is Linval Joseph. Another avergae NFL comparison for Mazi Smith would be DaVon Hamilton.

Joseph may be the upside comparison, but in glimpses, you can see that type of impact as a space clogger and people mover. Still, like Hamilton, you can see him getting on the field right away as a rotational run-defending nose tackle.

The sacks will never wow you, but every team needs a run stuffer like Mazi Smith.

Should Chicago Bears consider Mazi Smith

When the assumption was that Mazi Smith was going to blow away the NFL combine, many saw him as a lock for the first round. Now that he has not worked out, and there are questions how much upside he could bring as a pass rusher, he could fall much closer to the Chicago Bears. His mock draft projection is currently 38th. If that is the case, and he fell a bit more, this is an excellent fit.

Next. Bears Mock Draft: Post Pro Days. dark

The Bears were awful at run defense last season. He could step in a rotation with Andrew Billings next season and eventually be a long term answer at nose tackle.