PFF sounds the alarm on Cowboys defensive lineman after only one season

They want results and they want them NOW.
Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys
Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys / Richard Rodriguez/GettyImages

To interact with Pro Football Focus is to dance a fine line. On one hand, they pump out a ton of content that's incredibly useful. Their grades – the bane of many people's existence – are great, and I bet every single one of your favorite football writers used their interactive free agency database. On the other hand, they occasionally throw up a heat check that makes you sort of agree with their loudest critics. Their latest – a list of 10 NFL players that are 'under pressure to perform in Year 2' – is probably more the latter. Year 2!

And sure, we're just saying that in part because a Cowboys player showed up on the list. I'm not too proud to admit that. But PFF seems overwhelming out on Mazi Smith already, and that's just a place I'm not ready to go with any NFL player after one single season. Here's what they say.

PFF's already worried about Mazi Smith after one season

Dallas drafted Smith — decried as a reach by some at the time — in the first round to finally solve the weak underbelly the team’s defense had against the run over the past few years. Smith weighed 323 pounds at the NFL Combine, and the one thing he excelled at in college was stuffing the run and anchoring the middle of the line. The Cowboys inexplicably then asked him to drop a ton of weight and seemed confused when he made little impact as a rookie ... The Cowboys know they need more from him in 2024, with Jerry Jones himself saying he has to do a lot better in Year 2.

There's no denying that Smith's rookie season was underwhelming – he only started three games, had one sack, and 13 tackles. That's basically one (very) good game for Micah Parsons. But Smith just turned 23, and again, for the one billionth time: it was one season. Even rookies with great seasons are expected to be better in Year 2. That's how it works!

Love you, PFF, but this ain't it. That being said, you're not wrong about all the other NFC East guys on this lists being busts.