Ranking the Cowboys’ last 10 first-round draft picks

The Dallas Cowboys have had some strong picks in Round 1
Dallas Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb
Dallas Cowboys, CeeDee Lamb / Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
2 of 10

9. Mazi Smith, DT (2023)

When the Cowboys selected Mazi Smith with the 26th pick in 2023, an audible groan was heard throughout the fan base. The primary reason for the concern had to do with where Smith played during his collegiate career — Michigan.

Dallas fans have yet to get over the Taco Charlton failure and were worried the same thing would happen with Smith. After one season, it's hard to say this one will end any differently. But we do still have some hope.

Smith made a name for himself with the Wolverines due to his mixture of size (6-foot-3 and 337 pounds) and athleticism. Former defensive coordinator Dan Quinn honed in on the athleticism part and thought losing weight would make Smith more dangerous.

That led to a decision to move him to the 3-tech and have him play at 300 pounds. Smith struggled in this role, finishing with 13 tackles and one sack. With Quinn now in Washington, Smith is expected to move back to the 1-tech and put on more weight.

If he's allowed to play at a comfortable weight — and in a role he knows well — this pick could be salvaged. Until then, the grade is incomplete and it's closer to the "worst" pick than it is to the "best."