5 defensive possibilities for Browns in 2023 NFL Draft

Andre Carter II of the Army Black Knights. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)
Andre Carter II of the Army Black Knights. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images) /
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Mazi Smith of the Michigan Wolverines. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Browns draft possibility No. 2: Mazi Smith, DT, Michigan

Over the final month and a half, the Cleveland defense has been much better than they were at the start of the year. That doesn’t mean there aren’t still holes — which we saw in Week 17. Washington gashed the defense on the ground during an excruciating 21-play drive that killed nearly 12 minutes of the second quarter.

Joe Woods has put all the blame on himself and says the issue isn’t the lack of big run-stuffing defensive tackles. While he’s an NFL coach and knows more than any of us on the outside, it’s hard to not think about all the times a massive and powerful nose tackle does impact the running game.

On top of that, Woods might not be there next season anyway. Whether that’s the case or not, the Browns need to get some better defensive tackle and Mazi Smith from Michigan could be the answer.

Smith has the size of a big run-stuffer at 6-foot-3 and 326-pounds. But he also has plenty of explosion in his legs.

Smith might be around beyond the second round even, simply due to the fact that some teams will see him as a two-down player.

Typically, scouts want a defensive tackle that can get after the quarterback but Cleveland has guys that can do that. Adding Smith would help them get to those passing situations to unleash their edge players.