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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Maason Smith (DL – LSU)

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Maason Smith (DL – LSU)

With being more than halfway through the College Football season, FantasyPros will be taking a look at early NFL Draft scouting reports before the Combine in March. Here’s a look at Maason Smith.

2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Maason Smith

Maason Smith (DL – LSU)

6’6″ – 315 lbs.

Background:

Louisiana native and five-star recruit who stepped into a starting role by Week 6 of his freshman season, but ended up missing all but the team’s bowl game after sustaining a leg injury. Finished the year with 354 snaps and a 19-5.0-4.0 line. Tore his ACL in the opener of the 2022 season, missing the year. Has reprised his starting role this season.

Positives:

Really looks the part, with an excellent combination of size/length/bulk; carries his weight very well. Typically lines up on the end of a three-man line, and that’s his most likely fit as a pro, too. Has a strong lower body to hold the point of attack in the run game. Uses his length effectively to lock out opponents, and shows heavy hands to discard blockers. Length and separation should allow him to make tackles while engaged. Able to kick inside and walk back interior linemen with his bull rush, showing impressive functional strength and solid leg drive. Can be a handful as a power rusher, attracting additional linemen and freeing up opportunities for teammates. Shows the ability to fire out with some explosiveness and threaten to skinny through gaps and disrupt plays. Mixes in a few different moves, primarily swim and rip moves.

Negatives:

Injury history will make his pre-draft medical testing important. Still hasn’t quite put it all together and reached his potential; three of his four sacks as a freshman came against McNeese St. Leverage is an issue, and not only because of his height; too often ends up being a leaner, rather than relying on his knee bend. Doesn’t appear to have a lot of flexibility in his lower body. His ability to locate the ball is still a work in progress. Motor appears to run hot and cold; not relentlessly pursuing second-effort plays, and feet often go dead when his initial move is unsuccessful. Consequently, his range is also limited.

Summary:

Has been receiving some first-round hype, likely owing to his past as an elite recruit and to his highly impressive combination of size and strength, but his tape doesn’t support that status. There are simply too many plays where he’s leaning on opponents or where he appears to give up before the whistle. Combined with his injury history and lack of ideal production, it may even be a risk to draft him on the second day, despite some clearly high-end traits. Stock is hard to judge because some teams may be willing to gamble on the upside.

Projection: Round 2-3

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