Mazi Smith Is Ready, 'Off to a Good Start'

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30 May 2023: Mazi Smith (58) of the Dallas Cowboys during an OTA practice at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Photo by James D. Smith/Dallas Cowboys

FRISCO, Texas —From front office personnel down to coaches and players, everyone in the building is champing at the bit to start going full speed for the Dallas Cowboys, but that won't and can't happen until training camp arrives in late July; and that's something rookies like first-round pick Mazi Smith are working to adapt to.

Smith was effectively ready to put on the pads and start hitting other humans the moment he touched down in Dallas, if not on the flight over from Michigan.

"Let's get to work, please," he said while walking through The Star in Frisco for the first time this past April. "I'm ready to hit somebody in their face. I'm not playing."

He was smiling but, as he noted, he was not kidding around. 

But while he won't get his wish in OTAs and minicamp, he already has the coaching staff buzzing about his hunger to get going … and his potential to do multiple things.

 "For a guy like Mazi, you can't wait to see him in pads," said head coach Mike McCarthy as OTAs concluded. "He's ready to show everybody what he can do in pads." 

McCarthy and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn are just as excited to explore his potential versatility across the defensive line — the definitive run-stopper who they feel has untapped abilities in the pass rush as well. 

"We said this during the evaluation process: we feel there's a lot more pass rush potential in his body than based on the opportunities he has shown in his college career," McCarthy added. "So, I love the program he came from and the way he's wired and physically, but his emotional connection and so forth. He's off to a good start."

It's safe to say no one on the offensive line or on the offensive coaching staff is taking Smith lightly, because though there is no full contact as of yet, the first week of OTAs saw the former Wolverine taking reps with the first team and drawing double teams almost immediately.

If we're being honest, that's likely only making Smith that much more starved to begin putting his metahuman strength and motor to good use.

 Soon enough, he'll get his wish.

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