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  • Writer's pictureJames Johnson

Scouting Report: Intro to New Jags DL Maason Smith

After months of anticipation, the 2024 NFL Draft has come and gone. The Jacksonville Jaguars started the process by taking an offensive player in the first round in receiver Brian Thomas Jr., giving Trevor Lawrence another weapon. It was almost a certainty that they would look to the defensive side in the second round and they did so by taking Thomas' teammate from LSU, Maason Smith.


Smith will join the Jags after spending three years with the Tigers and appearing in 22 games. He participated in nine games as a freshman, but his 2022 season was cut short due to an ACL tear he sustained in LSU's season opener against Florida State. In 2023, he started in all 12 games for the Tigers.


Smith's collegiate career got off to a solid start as he was named to the Southeastern Conference's All-Freshman team and also was named to the 2021 Freshman All-America Team. He ultimately ended that season with 19 tackles and four sacks with five tackles for loss. In his last season with the Tigers, Smith accumulated 28 tackles (a career-high) and 2.5 sacks.


How does Smith's addition impact the Jags?


The 2023 season proved the Jags are heading in the right direction regarding their defenders on the edge. However, the interior part of the defensive front was a bit disappointing. Between DaVon Hamilton battling a back injury and Foley Fatukasi being a free-agent miss, it was clear that 2024 would come with a shakeup for the defensive line. 


The Jags started this offseason by signing Arik Armstead in March but didn't stop there. The team then drafted Smith, who brings similar traits to the defense as Armstead. That sets Smith, a raw prospect, up perfectly to learn from the veteran and eventually become his successor. 


Like many players the Jags have on their defense, Smith also brings versatility to the table. Some feel he'll be a great fit as a three-technique in an even front and a four-inside-technique in an odd front. Fans will have to wait until the season to see what kind of front new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen utilizes, but history says it could involve heavy 4-2-5 looks, which is also a 3-3-5 depending on the stance of the defensive end. 


Regardless of the scheme, though, Smith should see a significant amount of snaps for the Jags as a second-round selection. Training camp will be an important time for him when considering he's a bit of a project, but his physical ability can be game-changing for them if Smith catches on fast. 


Maason Smith's scouting report


Position: Defensive Lineman

College: LSU

Height: 6-foot-5 Weight: 306 lbs.


Strengths/Pros

  • Brings elite measurables to the table

  • Utilizes his long arms well when it comes to extending for better positioning and playmaking

  • Has shown a quick first step often

  • Showcases a violent/quick arm-over and swim move

  • Can play from several positions on the line

Weaknesses/Cons

  • While he uses his upper limbs well, his hands could be more active

  • College résumé isn't long due to 2022 ACL injury

  • Pad level is sporadic

  • Can be knocked off balance at times. This issue is a mix of lineman figuring him out at times and playing with a high pad level

  • Footwork activity isn’t consistent


Highlights of his strengths






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