Jaguars select DT Maason Smith with No. 48 pick: Instant grade and analysis

• The Jaguars are reinforcing their interior defensive line with LSU's Maason Smith.
Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State defensive lineman Maason Smith (DL24) works out
Feb 29, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Louisiana State defensive lineman Maason Smith (DL24) works out / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars added help at wide receiver in the first round when they selected LSU's Brian Thomas Jr. at No. 23. They turned their attention to the defensive line in the second round. With the 48th overall pick, they chose Thomas' former teammate defensive tackle Maason Smith.

Smith worked out for the Jags during the pre-draft process and says no other teams showed interest. To nobody's surprise, the Jags didn't pass up the chance to acquire the former Tiger.

What should the Jaguars expect from LSU DT Maason Smith in 2024?

Smith will be part of the Jaguars' defensive tackle rotation. He does a good job of stopping the run but can also bring the heat. He got better as a pass rusher as his collegiate career progressed, logging 2.5 sacks and 4.5 tackles for a loss in his last season at LSU.

The only thing that may be working against Smith is that he dealt with injuries in the past (torn ACL in 2022). Then again, defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen should have no trouble getting the most out of him. The coaching staff will probably ease him into the rotation, as there's no need for him to start right away.

Smith will start the season behind veterans DaVon Hamilton and Arik Armstead, Jacksonville's biggest acquisition in free agency. However, the first-year defensive tackle should get a bigger role as the year progresses.

What grade do the Jaguars get for drafting Maason Smith in Round 2?

Grade: C+

Maason Smith could develop into a steady contributor. His selection adds depth to an interior defensive line that was in need of it. That said, cornerback was a bigger need in Round 2, and the Jaguars opted not to address it. Instead, they stayed put and let other teams make a run at the position.

Whether it was Kool-Aid McKinstry (New Orleans Saints), or Cooper DeJean (Philadelphia Eagles), the Jaguars passed up the chance to get one of the top remaining cornerback prospects on the board.

Here are more Jaguars draft news: