3 / 3 The Dallas Cowboys drafted defensive tackle Mazi Smith with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft,
3 / 3 But it appears that fans should temper their expectations for the former Michigan standout.
3 / 3 While Smith is a first-round pick, reports suggest that he is not expected to start immediately but will play a key role in the team's defensive line rotation.
3 / 3 The expectation for Smith is to contribute to both stopping the run and providing a pass rush up the middle.
3 / 3 However, it's noted that he is not yet ready to step into a starting role. Instead, the Cowboys plan to utilize him as part of their defensive tackle rotation.
3 / 3 Smith signed a four-year, $13.2 million rookie contract with a $750,000 base salary for the 2023 season.
3 / 3 The team is expected to rely on veteran Johnathan Hankins at the defensive tackle position, as they re-signed him to a one-year, $1.3 million deal in the offseason.
3 / 3 While the hope might have been for Smith to excel during training camp and secure a starting role, it's acknowledged that he didn't consistently stand out during the preseason.
3 / 3 Despite this, some analysts suggest that Smith doesn't need to start to make a significant impact in his rookie season.
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