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2024 NFL Draft

Steelers Have Competition for LSU DL Maason Smith

The Pittsburgh Steelers are far from the only team that wants to land LSU defensive lineman Maason Smith in the draft.

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Pittsburgh Steelers 2024 NFL Draft Target LSU DT Maason Smith

LSU defensive lineman Maason Smith visited the Steelers for a pre-draft visit as part of their 30 visitors. But they were not the only team, in fact, they were at least one of 12 teams that wanted to see Smith at their facility, according to Justin Melo of the Draft Network.

I just got done with my 12th pre-draft visit. I’m actually at the airport right now (laughs). I’m flying back home for a day. It’s been a lot of fun. This entire process has felt like one great opportunity,” Smith told Melo. “It’s been a blessing for me. I’m going to a lot of cities and visiting a lot of places I’ve never visited before. It’s been fun to fly all over the country with an opportunity to see new spots. I started off in New Orleans with the Saints last week. I flew to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. I also met with the Jets and Giants. I went to Minnesota, Buffalo, Green Bay, and Charlotte. I just got back from Arizona. I have a few more visits coming up later this week.

The Steelers brought in six defensive linemen in the process. So, this is something they are clearly looking at heavily in the mid rounds as they try to bolster the depth and find a heir to Cam Heyward.

The Steelers sent defensive line coach Karl Dunbar to the LSU pro day last week to work out Smith at his pro day, so this is a natural step in interest for the team.

Smith is a 6-foot-5, 306-pound defensive tackle from Houma, Louisiana. He ran a 5.01-second 40-yard dash at the 2024 NFL Combine and put 21 reps on the bench at LSU’s pro day. After suffering a torn ACL, Smith started to get into the groove of things down the season’s stretch. He is oozing with potential, and the Steelers have shown a ton of interest in defensive lineman, but specifically Smith.

Smith is currently projected to go early in the third round, with his NFL Mock Draft Database average at No. 75 right now. He could be an option for the Steelers if he slides a bit to their third round picks, at No. 84 and 98.

But the bigger story is not the Steelers’ specific interest in Smith, but that they are still interested in defensive tackles at all after locking up Lowry. Much like at linebacker, where the Steelers have still been seeking players in the 2024 NFL Draft after signing Patrick Queen, they do not appear to be done at the position.

Cam Heyward is entering the final season of his contract, Larry Ogunjobi struggled in 2023 despite being healthy, and the team has yet to find a consistent role for DeMarvin Leal, despite his status as a former third-round pick. So it makes sense for them to continue to be seeking help along the line.