If the NFL held a “First Off the Bus” contest, LSU defensive tackle Maason Smith might win among the potential 2024 NFL Draft class. But after missing almost his entire sophomore year at LSU with an injury he suffered on the first drive of the season, what does his scouting report look like? And what kind of range could we see him selected in April?
Maason Smith Draft Profile and Measurements
- Height: 6’6″
- Weight: 315
- Position: DT
- School: LSU
- Current Year: Junior
Smith’s recruiting process was a bit wonky compared to most high-level players coming out of high school. Normally, recruits who are talented enough to be ranked the top recruit in the nation rarely fall from the top 10 in the national rankings at any of the big three recruiting sites.
And Smith was the top-ranked recruit in the nation, according to Rivals. But he was only 30th in 247Sports and 57th on ESPN. He was even a four-star recruit for ESPN.
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Smith was impressive for the Tigers immediately. He played in nine games as a freshman, starting four. His most impressive game was against McNeese State, where it was clear Smith was a superior physical talent compared to the McNeese front line.
But how has the once coveted defensive lineman looked since returning from his devastating injury?
Maason Smith Scouting Report
- Rocked-up 310-pound frame with outstanding density throughout
- Impressive anatomical length
- Outrageous strike strength to blow back blockers.
- High-motor player with a good first step and horizontal wiggle. Can flash and cross over blocker’s faces
- Plays with impressive positional leverage despite being a tall player
- Straight-line explosiveness is top-tier — should run and jump out of the gym
- Athletic enough to survive playing as a 4i or 5-technique
- Length and strength can convert speed to power against offensive tackles not used to defending against power players
- Violent spin move and cross-chop and rip through
- Shown significant strength improvements since freshman season
- While lateral agility is present, he appears still in the lower half. Gets bogged down in the mud when turning and running. Doesn’t have bend to win up the arc
- Inconsistent pass rusher
- Must improve as a processor against the run. Inexperience shows in slow run recognition.
- Can play too high and must improve double-team positioning and leverage.
- Must learn to drop his anchor vs. multiple blockers
Current Draft Projection and Summary
Smith still has a lot to prove as a young player, and there is no guarantee that he will declare for the NFL Draft as a junior. However, his size, power, and explosiveness will be coveted by teams because he is such an alignment-versatile piece.
Smith has the athleticism to play up and down any defensive front, and he already has some nice pass-rush tools at his disposal. If he continues to put out consistent tape over the second half of the college season, he could very well be in play as the top interior defender selected in the 2024 NFL Draft.
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