Add Mazi Smith to the Group of Players Who Reportedly Are on the Bears Top 30 Visit List
A main beef I had with the previous regime is that there was an unshakable feeling that they weren’t seeing the obvious things everyone else was noticing.
For instance, we (as a collective Bears fandom) had gripes about how the front office went about addressing obvious needs on offense — only to watch the team double down on its commitment to adding high-profile defensive players. It was almost insulting to see clear needs on offense get ignored while an already strong defense continued receiving help.
These rebuilding Bears have needs on both sides of the ball. So it’s not as if we have room to nitpick where they should prioritize their efforts. But unlike the previous regime, it feels as if this group is actively trying to address their needs. At a minimum, the front office acts as if it sees the problems and is willing to inquire about making improvements. And that shows itself with how many offensive and defensive linemen they have used top 30 visits on to this point of the pre-draft process.
On the defensive side of the ball, Michigan’s Mazi Smith is the latest to join the list of potential Bears draft targets whoo make their home in the trenches. NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport has the latest on Smith:
If the Bears are to look at alternative DT options to Jalen Carter, then Smith is a good start. Smith was an All-Big Ten selection in each of his last two seasons, earning consensus first-team honors in 2022. His raw numbers (0.5 sacks, 2.5 tackles-for-loss, 48 total tackles) don’t jump off the page. This might ding his public perception. But his size (6-3, 323 pounds) and testing (h/t MLive) make it understandable why teams are checking in. So much of the draft is about projection. And if the Bears believe in their coaches’ developmental abilities, then Smith is an ideal target to test those skills.
Of course, Smith isn’t the only defensive tackle the Bears can target in the upcoming draft. Heck, he isn’t even the only one in a group of players who could be Day 2 targets for Chicago. Gervon Dexter Sr. (Florida), Keeanu Benton (Wisconsin), Adetomiwa Adebawore (Northwestern), Siaki Ika (Baylor), and Zacch Pickens (South Carolina) are among those who figure to pique the interest of a bunch of teams who need interior defensive line help. In other words, this seems like a position group where it would be unwise to fixate on one name. There are a lot of names to sort through before the Bears eventually settle on one. And getting to know those names has been fun to this point. Who’s next?