FRISCO, Texas – It was a long Thursday night, one that had plenty of twists and turns in the first round of the NFL Draft.
But the Cowboys finally got on the clock and made a pick, albeit a surprising one to some, drafting Mazi Smith out of Michigan.
Let's see what the DallasCowboys.com staff writers had to say about the pick and how it all went down:
Nick Eatman: Well, everyone wants to be right. So on a personal level, when you make a prediction before the draft on them drafting Sam LaPorta in the first round, and he's on the board still, that's what you find yourself rooting for. But overall, does it make sense to draft a tight end in the first round when there will be plenty of others available tomorrow night? Maybe not. I do think the Cowboys have a big need to stop the run and they addressed it with Mazi Smith. As I wrote in my column on the website, I just think it's fair to wait a little before judging the pick. I wasn't crazy about Tyler Smith last year and he was an outstanding pick. And in the last 12 years or so, the Cowboys don't miss many times in the first round. So I think we have to wait and see, but it does address a need and I applaud them for that.
Patrik Walker: There was a point in recent Cowboys history when it was unheard of to consider them investing in a big-bodied nose tackle in the first round, but it's 2023 and times have changed, to say the least. To that end, the selection of Mazi Smith is one that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Sure, they could've gone for an edge rusher in Nolan Smith, but that would've added to an already stout pass rush that still needs to find more reps for Sam Williams while leaving the Cowboys deficient at nose tackle behind Johnathan Hankins (who is on a one-year deal in 2023, by the way). Smith has explosive power comparable only to Tyler Smith and is both a dominant run-stopper and a disruptive pass rusher in his own right. This will force one-on-one matchups at the edges and make life easier for Micah Parsons and Co., so sign me up.
Nick Harris: When buzz started to circulate around The Star on Thursday evening that Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith could be the pick, my initial reaction was, "Well, it certainly makes sense." Sure, there was that one missing piston of offensive firepower that could've been addressed immediately in the first round, but when you can round out a defense whose only strong negative from a season ago was stopping the run, you do it. When you pair Smith's athleticism with his size, you have a truly unique prospect that can plug either hole you want to put him in along the interior of the defensive line. Was it the flashiest pick the Cowboys could've made? Certainly not. But was it the safest? I would say yes.