2023 NFL Draft: Chiefs check out a top defensive tackle in Mazi Smith
By Matt Conner
The Kansas City Chiefs at least seem open to the idea of an early investment at defensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Kansas City Chiefs are no strangers to projections of a few core positions assumed to be the roster’s weakest spots coming into the 2023 NFL Draft. It’s the reason why the Chiefs are often linked with a wide receiver, an edge rusher, or an offensive tackle early in mock drafts all over the web. However one position that could rise to surprise some folks is along the defensive interior.
The Chiefs recently used one of their pre-draft visits on one of the top defensive tackles in the 2023 NFL Draft class in Mazi Smith from Michigan.
Smith is a top DT in this year’s draft class who is consistently projected as a potential late first-round pick or high second-round talent. That’s right in the area where the Chiefs will be picking in the first round at No. 31 overall, and it feels unlikely that he might still be available if K.C. wanted to wait until the bottom of the second round.
As for value, Smith would immediately upgrade the run-stuffer spot next to Chris Jones after years of seeing Derrick Nnadi largely occupy that role. Nnadi’s playing time has decreased in recent years, and the Chiefs went shopping for a free agent like Brandon Williams late in the season to help round that out as well. Investing heavily at that spot could work wonders to raise the floor from one of the overall weaker spots on the roster.
As for Smith, he’s a monster against the run who would immediately upgrade anything the Chiefs have had in their base defense in the last few years. However, he also holds significant potential as a disruptor and could help spell Jones at times to keep him rested over the course of a season. He’s quick and powerful and comes with the versatility that Michigan instills in most of their products.
Smith was first-team All Big-Ten last season.