A former NFL scout says that Cody Mauch's NFL comp is Joe Jacoby, the left tackle on the famous Washington offensive line, the "Hogs", who paved the way for RBs such as John Riggins. Jacoby was a devastating pull blocker, a key attribute in their power scheme based on gap runs, a distinctive Joe Gibbs offense, including the iconic counter trey play. Jacoby went to multiple Pro Bowls and multiple times was named a First Team All Pro.
Jacoby was an UDFA. Jeff Bostic, the starting center, also was an UDFA. George Starke, the right tackle, was an 11th round pick and in the modern draft would have been a priority UDFA. So, 3 of the 5 original Hogs were essentially UDFAs. Only one of the starters, Mark May, was a 1st or 2nd round pick. So, when we talk about how great a prospect Cody Mauch and whether he could be a great NFL player, consider that the perhaps the very best NFL comp experts have offered for Mauch wasn't even drafted at all. When Joe Gibbs first met Jacoby, he was so unfamiliar with the UDFA that he thought Jacoby was a defensive tackle. Didn't Martz think that Kurt Warner was a TE when they first met? Discovering Joe Jacoby was one of the feathers in the cap of Charley Casserly, helping him rise from being a scout to one of the top GMs in the NFL.
Mauch has rocketed up draft boards after his strong performance during Senior Bowl week. All across the draft scouting community he is gaining traction as a potential 1st round pick. Some experts believe that Mauch could be a good NFL starter at any of the 5 OL positions. He's projected to be a plug and play Day 1 starter, not a developmental player who requires more seasoning. For Rams fans who aren't sure if the biggest OL need is at LT, G or C, Mauch might be the single best prospect to draft, because he could fill in anywhere the team felt they needed him the most.
There were 2 linemen with similar versatility who the Rams passed on in 2019 when they traded out of slot 31. The Rams moved down in a series of trades all the way to 61, where they drafted Taylor Rapp. Elgton Jenkins of the Packers was pick 44. Jenkins has played LT, RT, LG and C at various times for GB. When the Packers tried to have him play RT in 2022 he struggled, so they moved him back inside to LG, where he's performed better. Late in the season they signed Jenkins to a new contract, paying him a salary of $17 million, making him one of the highest paid guards in the NFL.
The Rams in 2022 only allocated $11.3 million of their cap to their entire OL. So Jenkins by himself would have been 150% the amount the Rams were charged for all their offensive linemen. In terms of average salary, Jenkins would have been 69% of the entire Rams OL.
Dalton Risner was the 41st overall pick in 2019. He started at both C and OT in college. The good news is he very rarely commits penalties and he's been a full time starter his entire career, playing both guard spots. The bad news is he's never been particularly impressive. His PFF season grades are 64.4, 61.3, 68.5 and 61.1.
SIS metrics are slightly kinder to Risner. By the way, Joe Mahoney, writing for the Broncos fan site, put together a nice table with SIS data with blocking rankings for all the teams and the Rams in 2022 were 28th in both run and pass blocking, near the bottom of the NFL. But, at least they were cheap, right?
Risner is expected to be one of the top free agent guards on the market this year. Definitely not a bust, but also not as good as the Broncos had hoped. If you draft a guard that early, you're expecting him to be a Pro Bowl type performer, a core building block you're going to keep on a 2nd contract like the Packers have done with Jenkins.
This is how Lance Zierlein graded certain offensive line prospects from recent drafts:
Dalton Risner 6.70 (LZ had him with a 2nd round projection)
John Michael Schmitz 6.41
Cody Mauch 6.36 (Eventual Plus Starter)
Zion Johnson (17th overall pick) 6.34
Quinn Meinerz 6.31
Chris Lindstrom (14th overall pick) 6.30
Elgton Jenkins 6.30
Kolton Miller(15th overall pick) 6.30
Aaron Banks 6.29
Cole Strange (29th overall pick) 6.29
Connor Williams 6.30
Logan Bruss 6.26
Creed Humphrey 6.26 (What, you didn't know or forgot that Bruss and Creed had exactly the same draft grade?)
Luke Goedeke 6.26
Josh Myers 6.23
Austin Corbett (33rd overall pick) 6.20
Frank Ragnow (20th overall pick) 6.20
LZ has Mauch graded higher than four OL prospects who were top 20 picks in recent drafts. Mauch has a higher grade than Lindstrom, who is one of the best guards in the NFL. His grade is higher than Creed Humphrey's. If you keep Mauch at left tackle, he has a higher grade than Kolton Miller. Since JMS can't play tackle, Mauch's versatility potentially makes him a more valuable prospect than JMS. That's how SteelersDepot has them ordered, they gave Mauch a slightly higher draft grade than JMS. Of course, if LZ's grades had perfectly predicted success, Dalton Risner should have been the best out of all of these OL prospects.
In 2013, one of my favorite center prospects was JC Tretter, who never played center in college at Cornell. Tretter was a TE who was converted to left tackle. He was a 4th round pick by the Packers. I liked him, because he had really good feet and lateral movement. Playing for the Browns, Tretter became one of the best starting centers in the NFL. So, sometimes a good center was a guy who is a former TE and played LT at a smaller college, plus is a smart guy with good athleticism. Hmmm, I wonder whether Cody Mauch checks any of those boxes?
Should Cody Mauch be the number one draft target for the Rams? If he's not going to make it out of the 1st round, do the Rams need to trade up to grab him? Or, will his dramatic rise push JMS out of the 1st round and down to the Rams? Is Mauch as good as many of the draft experts believe or has the hype train gone off the rails? Quinn Meinerz in 2021 got a ton of buzz after the Senior Bowl, but he didn't get drafted until late in the 3rd round. Meinerz and Risner were on the same team, but even though Risner was drafted earlier and was graded higher, Meinerz has been the better player.
Name: Cody Mauch. His last name is pronounced "mow-k". 24 years old. Redshirt, bonus 6th year senior.
School: North Dakota State. Studied Agricultural engineering.
Senior Bowl measurements: 6'4 7/8'' tall, 305 pounds, 32 1/8'' arms, 9 5/8'' hands, 79 3/4'' wingspan. Per SI estimated 40 time of 5.15 seconds. Was listed 6'6'' and 303 pounds. NFLDB has his 40 time at 4.88 seconds.
From North Dakota. Played TE, QB and DE in high school, set school record for sacks, also did basketball, baseball and track. Not ranked as a recruit, had no division 1 scholarship offers. Was a preferred walk-on at NDST.
Initially a TE, he got converted to OL. Redshirted in 2017. A backup player in 2018 and 2019. Made 9 starts during spring schedule 2021, 2 games at RT and 7 at LT. 15 starts at LT in 2021. 15 starts at LT 2022.
Was 221 pounds when he got to college. Said he ate 27 meals per week. Ate a bunch of stromboli, a popular dish served to NDST students at the dining center, a baked turnover with cheese and Italian cold cuts, like a pizza sandwich.
Listed 6'4'' tall and 234 as freshman in 2017, 269 pounds in 2018, 290 in 2019, 6'5'' and 295 in 2020, 6'6'' and 301 in 2021.
I couldn't find any information regarding him suffering any type of major injury.
He lost both of his front teeth playing basketball in junior high. Along with his flowing hair, he looks like he could be a character on Game of Thrones or in the battle scene at the beginning of the movie, Gladiator.
One of 8 kids, 4 sisters, 3 brothers. Likes to hunt pheasants, duck and geese.
He says he's a good lockerroom guy who keeps vibes high and the team loose. Describes himself as a smart player. Had no experience playing inside in college, the Senior Bowl was his first time with extensive playing time at C or G. In interviews he's self-aware, has a great attitude, is confident and displays good football IQ and overall intelligence.
ESPN 7th OT, 51st overall (2nd rd)
PFF 43rd on their top 100 list, but 91 on the big board, I don't know why the lists don't match. PFF says his pass protection technique is a work in progress and suggests that he needs to move inside.
Drafttek 2nd OG, 57th overall (2nd rd)
Shane Hallam 63rd overall
Brian Bosarge 54th overall
PFN 46th overall
TDN 59th overall
SI 2nd OG, 1st round grade. Their draft report gave him a 2nd round grade, don't know why it doesn't match their board.
Matt Miller mock draft 27th overall
Chad Reuter mock draft 28th overall, 1st round, to Bengals
Luke Easterling mock draft 38th overall to Raiders
Dane Brugler 39th overall prospect
Named top OL on National Team at Senior Bowl.
Steelers Depot (Chandler Stroud): Extremely hot motor, high football IQ, good footwork and hand placements, great at point of attack, position versatile can play OT, G and C, lateral mobility, fluid, mobile in space. Unbalanced in pass pro, vulnerable to bull rush, lacks bend, undersized for OT. In spring 2021 gave up 1 sack, zero penalties. In 2021, gave up 1 sack. Nasty, old school demeanor. Impeccable footwork. Ends up on ground a lot. Late 1st round to early 2nd round grade. 8.6 draft grade (JMS had 8.5 grade.)
Lance Zierlein 6.36 draft grade (eventual plus starter), Alex Cappa pro comp. Scheme versatile tough guy. Looks to obliterate down blocks. Loose hips to redirect and recover. Communicates effectively in blitz pickup. Short arms. Inconsistent footwork in pass pro. Hell click pass set, base vulnerable to bull rush. Strikes high on double teams. Grabby hands when he loses in early stages.
NFLDB: 0 sacks in 2020, 1 in 2021, 1 in 2022. Smooth athlete, terrific mobility and footwork, light on feet, quickness to mirror. Elite speed, could play TE in a pinch. Low body fat, powerful hands. Only 2 sacks allowed in 836 pass block plays. Elite lateral movement for zone blocking scheme, screens and sweeps. Effective in space. Waist bender, lacks ideal power and functional strength. Bad habit of dropping head. Very short arms relative to height, 4th percentile compared with combine peers. Small for OT, a pumped up TE, better suited to be a G. Overpowered by bull rush. Too upright in pass pro, unbalanced. Struggles to stay engaged, especially at 2nd level. 2nd to 3rd round prospect, ideal for zone blocking scheme, won't hold up as a LT.
TDN: Plug and play. Short arms. Good athleticism. Finishes blocks. Excellent lateral agility. Wall off blocker, wins with angles, not with knock back power or displacement at point of attack. Light feet, body control to mirror in pass pro. Range to handle speed rushers. Struggles when defenders get to his chest. Susceptible to bull rushes. Holding penalties when hands too far outside. 3rd round grade.
BigBlueView (Chris Pflum): Smooth controlled footwork, natural knee bender, wide base to absorb bull rushes, very quick to 2nd level, accurate blocker in space, good puller and screens, good awareness. Short arms, defenders get to his chest, lunges due to short arms. Good candidate to convert to center. Day 2 prospect.
PFN (Ian Cummings) Elite functional athleticism. Extremely quick out of sets. Energetic short area blocker. Exceptional range on move. Scary recovery athleticism in pass pro. Very good raw power, can shock with 2 hand extensions. Menacing leg drive, bulldozes at 2nd level. Core strength to anchor, independent hands. Grip strength to seal off. Solid knee bend, leverage and center of gravity. Loose hips to stay square and adjust his position in pass pro. Exciting upside in pass pro. Can widen base to absorb power rushes. Tools to stay at LT, impact starter. High level talent. Tilts feet to properly sustain leverage. Controls kick based on defensive alignment. Very efficient, calculated hand usage. Good timing on punches. Elite independent hands. Can punch and chop before anchoring. Tenacity, makes defenders eat grass. Mauler mentality, but with restraint. Below average proportional length. Sometimes bends at waist and overextends to compensate for short arms. Light at 303 pounds, core strength not elite. Can struggle to plant, can get worked upright or fail to latch and slip past opponents on the move. Sometimes plays too tall mirroring to apex. When hands too wide, topples off balance vs power. Some hip tightness at apex, extends early and lunges. Top 50 and possible 1st round pick.
Daniel Kelly (who was an NFL scout for the Jets for 4 years and writes for SI): Better footwork than all the other LTs in the draft. Graded high on film than the other top LTs. Can play every position on OL. The best LT in this draft. Faster version of Joe Jacoby, the LT for the "Hogs" OL for Washington in the 1980's. Pure speed by Mauch in straight line is unlike anything he's seen in 40 years from an OT. Looks like a TE running. Astonishing straight line speed. Tenacious, nimble and fast mauler with long arms. Excels in pass pro and run blocking. Kicks quickly with balance and wide base. Uses hands well in pass pro. Slides up and down pocket like controlled by video game joystick. Rarely overetends, covers up his mistakes with phenomenal speed and effort. Inconsistent inside sustain on run blocks. Pulls and gets to 2nd level like he owns the land. Jets must take this player 13th overall. Top 15 pick grade.
MusicCityMiracles: Looked great at center at Senior Bowl. Titans should sprint to the podium if he's available at 42.
SI: Excellent athlete. Grip to latch and sustain. Finishes opponents to ground. Good understanding of angles and lanes. Sometimes overruns at 2nd level. Good push in run game, explosive out of stance, violence and pop in hand, effective independent hands, strong anchor vs power rushes. Virtual guaranteed shift to OG, has short arms. Older prospect, played at lower level of competition. Hands sometimes too high. Inside hand to center of defender exposes his inside shoulder in pass pro. Pad level rises through reps in pass pro.
The reviews from his Senior Bowl performance were universally positive. Mauch was considered to be one of the big winners from that week, boosting his draft stock. NFL execs voted him one of the Senior Bwol standouts. I saw a few 1 vs 1 pass pro reps and he looked good playing guard, disciplined in his set and with his punches, good lateral range and mirror. NFLMocks: Had excellent day 2 of practice. Anchored in pass pro. Drive and finish on run drills. Impressive footwork and handled counters. BehindtheSteelCurtain: One of the biggest Senior Bowl risers, may have vaulted himself into the 1st round.
Not maxed out as an athlete. His frame looks like it could accommodate more weight and more muscle mass. Lacks upper body definition and lower body mass. Doesn't look like Mauch put in "extra" weight lifting sessions in the offseason, he could stand to get stronger in upper body, lower body and core. He didn't follow an actual diet plan when he bulked up, he said he just constantly ate. I think there's developmental upside with him physically where he can get bigger and stronger. Look at pictures of Rodger Saffold's body when he was at the Combine compared to later in his career. When Saffold was in the draft, his scouting profile says "Does not have power to be a road grader... not athletic enough to make blocks in space... will struggle to pull if moved to guard." Does that sound like Saffold? Mauch is older than a normal prospect, so even if he gets stronger he'd be a late bloomer.
Generates movement on combos and double teams. Power to knock the DT sideways on combo blocks. Great double team block drove DT 3 yards out of the gap at point of attack. Mashes FCS level DTs on double team blocks.
Excellent speed on screen passes. Very good effective blocking range. Bullies smaller opponents when blocking on the move in space. Very good lateral blocking range on sweeps and other wide plays.
Slides his feet laterally to defend the blocking angle. Very good lateral movement through engagement to protect angle and stay centered on run blocks. Wide base on seal block, then shuffled feet properly to mirror.
Very good hand speed, but his lack of length leaves him with a very small margin for error, resulting him him missing punches and grabs. Quick hands latch onto pass rushers and on run blocks. Can latch onto smaller defenders and drive them.
Didn't often have great leverage, but when he did, he flashed some core strength to bury opponents.
Found a very precise blocking angle against LB at 2nd level with good hand placement.
Adjusts well on the move. When executing a short pull to fold around TEs and he's against a smaller, more athletic LB who is moving to try to evade the block, the LT more often than not (estimated 66% of the time) adjusts to stay centered on the block into initial contact. When he misses the LB it is a problem, but we'll talk about that in his weaknesses.
Good pass blocker. Bursts out of his stance into his pass set. Has good composure as pass blocker.
Mades what I call the "Andrew Whitworth" pass block, because Whit's a master at this technique. The LT stops the DE's initial move, getting hands to chest of DE. The DE pushes the outside arm of LT up, trying to defeat the block and go around to the outside. The LT moves his feet and with his inside arm extended, is in full control of the block, completely stones the DE with just that one hand engaged.
OLB gives head and shoulder fake, tries to go outside, great mirror by LT and completely smothers the move.
Inside zone, excellent footwork after initial engagement to work his hips around the 4i technique DE and seal, making a big hole for the RB at the point of attack. That is an NFL Pro Bowl level block.
In short yardage, has decent get off and some ability to drive block.
Communicates well with LG to handle twists on run plays. Twist vs zone run, the LT reach blocks the DE, then reacts in time to switch over to the DT at the point of attack. Overload blitz, he had right hand on DT, then used left hand to block the DE coming off the corner.
Good overall awareness. Down block on DT on 3rd&2. The 2nd DT smokes the RG and is crashing into the backfield, trying to get to the RB, the LT sees what is happening, he turned the 1st DT sideways with a good down block, then moves to side and blocks the 2nd DT, allowing the RB to burst through the hole.
Against an opponent that tried to use DT twists to disrupt run plays, he made quick change of direction moves in phone booth to go from double team block on the first DT to switch over to the 2nd DT.
Monitors and protects his inside gap against blitzers and defensive line games.
Jumps in the middle of piles. Good aggression and effort. Sprinted downfield, looking for someone to block, good downfield effort. Good hustle and effort on long run trying to prevent TD on a long pick 6.
Plays football with joy of a little kid. Doesn't take himself or the game too seriously, has fun on the field. Works hard, but isn't a negative energy person, probably would make going to work fun for the other players on his team. Good natured and friendly. Has a goofy personality, clowns for the camera on team promo for TV. Talks to opponents after plays and clearly isn't taunting them, it is like they are are having a friendly conversation. Gave playful gesture, shrugging his shoulders, to defender after play, joking around with him.
After play is over, a LB delivers a dirty cheap shot shove directly into middle of his back as LT is just standing there, minding his own business. I bet 99% of players would retaliate, get angry and shove back. Mauch turns around, says something to the LB, the 2 players shake hands, then the LB pats him on the back, appearing to apologize. Like in 5 seconds they are suddenly now new best friends.
Short 3rd down in 4th quarter, the RB runs for the first down. Mauch lifts his arms up in the air and jumps up and down to celebrate, like a kid who got a new bicycle on Christmas morning. QB runs for 1st down, LT signals a first down to celebrate. TE is wide open on wheel route, as QB releases pass, the LT raises his arms, anticipating a TD, then appears to think better of it and puts his arms down.
Even though he played at lower level of competition, I thought his best 2022 game was against Arizona.
Has good physical tools and football IQ, developmental upside, but is inexperienced and inconsistent. I think his best football is still ahead of him.
I don't think some of his pass blocking weaknesses will matter if he's moved inside to G instead of playing at LT. I think he has the potential to be an elite pass blocker at the G position.
A bit light in the pants with a higher center of gravity. Needs to get physically stronger, maybe add slightly more weight and learn to play with a lower pad level.
Struggles to climb cleanly. He doesn't properly squeeze through the LOS to climb to the 2nd level to get to the LB. Every single time, he uses the same move, he tries to dip his outside shoulder under the DL, then rip through as he goes by. The technique doesn't work well. His pad level is too high. His body is off balance and he struggles to redirect, because his shoulders aren't aligned towards his 2nd level target. Sometimes the DE or DT grabs and holds him, delaying him. Other times, he'll get past the LOS, but he's off balance and runs past the LB, or he'll be late gathering himself and isn't in proper stance to make an effective block. One reason this flaw concerns me is that since he's very athletic and fast, the opposing defensive coordinator is going to intentionally target him and tell the DL to grab him so that he can't get up to the LBs. If Mauch can't develop better technique to defeat this tactic, learn to use his hands better and disengage and climb where he's square to his block fit, this will tend to neutralize his measured "combine athleticism", because he won't be as good a 2nd level blocker as you would otherwise assume. LT dips shoulder, the DE pushes him, causing LT's hips to be turned too far to the inside and he's out of position to get to the LB, the LB stuffs the RB in the hole at the point of attack. Very basic climb to the middle LB, but he whiffs on the block. 3rd&2, he overruns a short climb to LB, awkwardly grabs the LB outside the frame. Off balance after he dips shoulder to climb, he's stumbling as he arrives at the LB, the LB wins inside leverage towards the runner and as the LB tries to go towards the RB he gets taken down from behind, lucky the LT isn't called for holding. If you read the expert reports, they make it sound like Mauch is overrunning his landmark, like he doesn't understand the blocking angle, but I don't feel that's what is going on most of the time, I think the root of the problem is at the LOS.
2nd&1, the DE extremely blatantly grabs and holds the LT to prevent climb to LB at 2nd level. Clear cheating, which isn't fault of the LT, but to me also an example of how LT didn't use violent and assertive hands to keep himself clean and get away from the DE so that he could get to the LB.
A similar issue happened on a play that didn't involve a climb to a LB. Gap run, the C and LG are pulling around the LT. The LT is supposed to down block on the DT, who strangely is lined up half a yard off the LOS. The DE and DT don't technically stunt, but in effect play a "mini game", because the DE pushes the LT, while the DT jumps sideways to evade the block. Since the LT doesn't use his hands to fend off the DE, he can't mirror the DT, so he grabs the shoulder pad of the DT, risking a potential holding penalty, but his hand slips off and he falls down. The DT is free to chase the RB at the point of attack.
Inconsistent combo blocker. On combo blocks he normally does not recognize when he should go directly to the LB instead of trying to push the DT. A couple of plays he got it right and executed it well. Far more often, however, he would chase the DT, even though the LG had it handled, leaving him out of position to get the LB. One play, he still saved it by scrambling into position, his athleticism making up for his mental mistake. LT turns his hips too far inside, trying to get DT on combo, misses the LB. DT has back to LT, handled by the G, but doesn't go directly to LB, he's a tick late and the LB slips right past LT.
When LB is on run blitz, Mauch doesn't adjust quickly enough off his combo block. Didn't leave DE quickly enough, so LT grabs the LB from the side, a potential holding penalty. LT pushes DT on combo, failed to pick up LB run blitz, lucky the LB misses tackle on RB in the hole. Chased DT for no reason on combo, the LB is unblocked to the RB. A couple times he got it right. 2nd&1, LT doesn't linger on DE, immediately leaves and picks off LB blitz, huge hole for RB.
His pad level pops up too high as he climbs to the 2nd level. Even when he got it right, sometimes still missed block. Properly went to LB blitz instead of DT on combo, but lunges forward into initial engagement and the LB slips around him. Accuracy of grabs at 2nd level vs LBs not great.
One step late to stunts. Multiple times, when there is a E-T stunt by the DL, the LT dives too far inside against the DE, taking one step too deep, causing him to be late to switch over to the DT coming around behind the DE. One time the LT flipped his hips and had to run to recover. Another time he had to retreat and give up ground in the pocket in front of the QB. At the FCS level, this wasn't as big of a deal and Mauch had plenty of athleticism to cover up his "mistake", but you can't be consistently late in the NFL, that looper guy will be crashing in with more speed, power and better counter moves.
LB loops around NT after faking blitz into opposite A gap. The LT helping to block the DE picks up the LB, but if you watch closely his eyes are a tick late to scan and identify the danger, so he barely gets his body in position to make this block. Again, this worked at FCS level, but in the NFL that LB could be faster and he might already be in, crashing the pocket before the LT closes the door. In general, Mauch wasn't fast scanning, less of a problem at LT, but if he moves inside to C he needs to get better in this department. Things move faster inside and can get complicated and confusing in the NFL.
When in his set in pass protection, I think he needs to sink more in his stance and get his rear end lower. His pads tend to get too high and he has an urge to lean forward to get his hands on the defender.
Inaccurate hand placements lead to potential penalties or missed blocks. Sometimes when he pulls, he'll miss the LB in space, risking either holding penalties or whiffing. Short pull, the OLB moves, the LT grabs the shoulder pad of the LB, but LT's hand flies off and he whiffs on block. Pull block, going to LB in the slot on gap scheme run, the LT nearly whiffs and he grabs and pulls the jersey of the LB outside the shoulder pad, the jersey coming up and away from the frame of the defender, a very obvious potential holding penalty. On short pull, both of his hands go to back nameplate, then after they slide off he replaces them around the outside of the shoulder pads of the LB, hugging the LB, then wrestles the LB to the ground. I wonder if draft experts liked this play as an example of nasty finishing, but to me it probably should have been a holding penalty. Pull block, LT lunges into LB and LB wins with inside counter, the LT loses balance and falls to the ground. Missed grab on combo block against DT, which caused him to not be able to make a powerful block. Lost to spin counter on seal block.
Had holding penalty that wiped out a long pass play, his left hand missed initial grab, then as the DE uses 2 hand swipe move and tries to go outside, the LT's right hand appears to be pulling the DE's jersey and DE gets taken to ground. Mauch often goes for the "Joe Thomas" grab with his left hand, which is great if it works, but he doesn't seem to be able to connect often enough, probably due to having short arms and smaller hands. Joe Thomas is taller and has both longer arms and bigger hands than Mauch.
On kickout blocks, he'll grab and pull the jersey of defender outside the shoulder pad, away from the frame, risking a penalty. Base isn't planted firmly on kickouts, leaking core strength.
Limited length and power makes him just an average short yardage blocker. 4th&1, down block on DT, in the initial joust the DT shoves off the LT and the LT's hand is grabbing the DT's jersey inside, so when the 2 players fly away from each other, the LT is pulling on the DT, which is a potential holding penalty. Short yardage run, okay into initial engagement, but insufficient lower body power and leg drive to push the defender back off the LOS. While he's quick out of his stance, LT can be beaten in initial joust. 4th&1, stood up at LOS, no movement. 4th&1, down block vs DT, the left hand of LT slips off the jersey of the DT, defender gets under pads of the LT and drives him backwards towards the point of attack, shrinking the running lane, LT gets pancaked at the end of the play. Heads up against DT, the DT gets under his armpit, turns him, LT loses leverage battle.
Vulnerable to inside moves and counters. Has independent hands, because he likes to punch with his left hand first, but sometime this gets him in trouble and he doesn't mix up his sets and his technique enough to keep the pass rusher guessing. A smart NFL EDGE could develop a plan to set him up. When Mauch punches with his left hand, he'll tend to lean forward. This can be exploited with a good inside move, because Mauch is momentarily off balance and it would be difficult for him to recover.
Weak outside hand placement outside shoulder pad in pass pro and when his hand gets knocked off he stumbles and falls down, appearing to possibly twist his ankle or tweak his leg. Missed punch in pass pro with his left hand, his hand goes to the back of the nameplate. 3-4 DE gets to his chest when LT's right hand slides off and isn't engaged, the DE drives LT back towards the QB, but LT moves his feet well, stays balanced and settles the bull rush, not getting completely run over, staying between the DE and the QB. At top of pass rush, DE can pull his arms down and he'll lean forward, off balance.
Critical 4th down play late in 4th quarter, his team is down by 2 points. The DE makes a head fake, tries outside pass rush. In LT's slide, his feet are too far apart after his first step, then his heels click as his 2nd step is too small, then his feet are too far apart again as he tries to take one big lateral step to try to mirror the DE's outside move. This caused him to lose his inside shoulder and he's borderline holding the DE.
The footwork in his vertical pass set isn't refined, so at the apex of the pass rush, his left foot can get caught up in the air upon initial contact, leaving his base and balance vulnerable. I'm afraid that what could happen is NFL edge rushers will fling him violently sideways or smoke him badly with pass rush moves right at the top of the rush.
DE swipe move, goes outside, LT head ducks forward, his feet too close together, then takes a huge step trying to recover to outside, the DE wins with inside counter, swims and uses arm to seal the LT, redirects to the QB, the LT puts both of his hands around waist of DE and appears to try to pull the DE from behind to try to prevent sack, maybe should have been holding. If it had been called, would have been his 2nd holding penalty on the same drive.
NDST has a power run scheme and moved the QB out of the pocket on plays, so it was difficult for me to judge whether he "won" or "lost" some reps. He didn't play in a system where he constantly had to pass block to establish conventional pockets. Many of his FCS opponents were small and weak defenders.
Appeared to make mental error, turning DE loose, unblocked to QB on RPO. A couple plays, a tick late reacting after the snap.
Run to the right side. The middle of the OL destroys the interior DL, potentially opening up a huge cutback lane. Mauch is on the backside, and he allows 5 tech DE to cross his face and penetrate, which forces the runner to continue to go right instead of cutting back, resulting in a gain of only 1 yard. A huge missed opportunity.
I'm not an offensive line coach, but I have an issue with his footwork on zone reach blocks. Zone run to the right, he's trying to reach to the DT. You'd think the proper fundamentals would be to push off with your left leg, then your inside foot goes at about a 45 degree angle, so that you can orient your hips and flow in the direction of the play and run down the LOS, while maintaining a strong body position with sufficient torque to engage the defender. On this play his right foot doesn't move on the 1st step, it just goes up and down. His left foot then gets too close together with his other foot on the next step, briefly crossing in front. Since Mauch is now "behind schedule" in his footwork, his 3rd step is now a very wide step by his right foot, trying to makeup the ground he lost by not stepping properly with his initial step. The result is now his feet are too wide apart upon initial engagement with the defender. Moreover, his upper body is not properly aligned and working in coordination with his lower body. His shoulder pads are too parallel with the LOS, bent over and leaning forward, while his legs are trying to run at an angle. IMO, what happens next is very predictable. The DT drives into his torso, pushing him 3 yards backwards off the LOS.
It is impossible for me to tell how serious an issue this is, because in their scheme and since he was playing LT, there aren't a ton of wide zone run plays where he has to make a challenging reach block. I can't tell if this is purely coaching and inexperience or if perhaps he has some type of inherent hip tightness and lack of flexibility where he's not fluid and natural executing the required body movements for this block.
At the very end of a game and at the end of a long drive, it looked like Mauch was winded, breathing heavily, slower to get down in his stance. I wonder if his conditioning could get better. He still was playing effectively, but in addition to getting stronger, maybe he needs to work harder on his stamina.
About 2 years older than the average prospect.
Has traits to be a good center, but I have no idea if he can snap the ball reliably, because he's never been a starting C before at any level. Didn't play OL in HS, was only a LT in college. Has never played on the right side of the OL, so trying to flip him over to RT would be a brand new position for him with his stance and footwork completely opposite.
There's a danger of Mauch being a jack of all trades, but master of none lineman. While it is an advantage to potentially being able to play all 5 positions, it isn't as appealing if he can't play any of those at better than just a good backup level. You would never use a 1st round pick to get a utility OL backup. A player like that would be a very good 5th or 6th round pick. Mauch doesn't have an ideal build for any particular OL position. To be a C or G, typically it helps to be squatty, with a lower center of gravity. Mauch is almost too tall to be an ideal guard. To play OT, you want a player who is tall, with good length. Mauch doesn't cleanly fit into any of those prototypes. He's slender and linear, more like an OT, but he has very short arms, more like a center. No matter what position he plays, his body isn't exactly right for the job. So, what is his true "home" his best NFL position? If a team can't figure that out, a team could waste time and stunt his development by moving him back and forth instead of allowing him to train at a single position. Since he's an older prospect, he can't afford to waste 3 or 4 seasons in his career.
Arms are extremely short. Connor Williams was a LT at Texas, but has never been used at that spot in the NFL. Dallas moved him to guard, then he moved to center in 2022 for Miami. Williams has 33'' arms. JMS has limited length for a center, his arms are 32 3/4''. Bryan Bulaga has 33 1/4'' arms and became a RT for the Packers, because he didn't have the length considered to be necessary to stay at LT. It seems next to impossible to project Mauch at LT and expect him to survive on the edge with about 32'' arms. Brian Allen at center for the Rams has 32 3/8'' arms and a key reason I've never been a big fan of Allen is I think he's too small. Cody Mauch has shorter arms than Brian Allen! So, I'm in agreement with the idea that Mauch needs to slide inside and play either G or C.
Draft Grade and Pro Comp
2nd round grade. (Andy Levitre, 2nd round 2009, 51st overall pick, Bills, Oregon State)
Mauch also has some similarities with Ryan Jensen (6th round 2013, Ravens, CSU Pueblo).
Jensen was 6'3 1/2'' tall, 317 pounds, 32 1/2'' arms, 9 1/8'' hands, 77 1/4'' wing, ran 5.23 sec in the 40 with a 4.56 sec shuttle time. He wasn't invited to the Shrine Bowl, Senior Bowl or the Combine. B/R said he was a below average NFL athlete and would be a versatile backup. Gil Brandt suggested that he was a 3rd round prospect. Jensen played center in high school, but was a left tackle his entire college career. A 210 pound defensive lineman in HS, he had virtually zero recruiting interest.
When at his best in the NFL, Jensen is a very physical and combative player who gets under the skin of opponents, bursts out of his stance, with good mobility and hips, a legitimate tough guy. Jensen didn't become a starter until 2017, when he was 26 years old. He played very well that year. Despite only having 1 season as an NFL starter, Jensen became the highest paid center in the NFL in 2018, signing with the Bucs. He had a career best 79.3 PFF grade in 2019. In 2022, the Bucs gave him another new, lucrative contract. His salary is $13 million. Jensen's serious knee injury prior to the 2022 season was one of the factors that derailed the Bucs in 2022, sinking their OL. Tampa had one of the worst pass block and run block win rates in the NFL in 2022, per ESPN.
Andy Levitre was a left tackle in college. He was about 6'3'' tall, 305 pounds with 32 1/2'' arms and 9 5/8'' hands. Levitre was known as a good pass blocker who fit in a zone blocking scheme, but wasn't suited for a power scheme team and wasn't the most powerful run blocker. Playing primarily LG, he also had versatility to fill in at OT if needed due to injuries to other players. Adding Levitre was one of the moves that helped the Atlanta Falcons nearly win the Super Bowl.
Andy Levitre was a very good player. On the other hand, he was never named to a single Pro Bowl. If the PB were based on merit, Levitre should have gone to multiple PBs, but the PB is mostly just a popularity contest, a marketing stunt for the NFL. I'd be fine if they just eliminated it entirely, I don't think it is necessary anymore.
I see Mauch as a left guard in the NFL. A team might try him at LT, since that is such an important position, or they could try to make him a center like Ryan Jensen, but I feel LG would be the easiest transition. He would still be on the left side and his pass blocking skills would be valuable on the left side.
Cody Whitehair played LT, RT and LG at Kansas State. LZ gave him a 6.80 draft grade (on our earlier list, he'd be at the very top, ahead of Risner.) Whitehair was the 56th overall pick in 2016, late 2nd round.
The player in Whitehair's draft who probably would be more comparable to Mauch would be Jason Spriggs, taken at slot 48, who was a big draft bust for the Packers. Some people saw him as a developmental franchise NFL left tackle (34 1/8'' arms.) Others thought he'd be a good center or guard. Negatives with Spriggs coming out of Indiana included his lack of play strength, playing too high so that defenders got into his chest, missing LBs at the 2nd level and being too light at 305 pounds. Some experts liked him and had him as a potential 1st round pick, others were skeptical and projected him in about the 3rd round area. I was interested in the Rams drafting him with the intent of trying to make him a center. Spriggs never started more than 5 games in any season of his career and is out of the NFL.
One of the confusing things about the Mauch hype is it is possible Zach Tom in last year's draft was the better prospect. Tom started a full year at center in college, plus had multiple seasons starting at LT. He also played some on the right side of the line. He's very smart, graduated cum laude with a 3.76 GPA and was an MBA student. Tom wasn't drafted until the compensatory section of the 4th round. I suggested that the Rams look at him as a potential starting center. As a rookie, Tom played LT, LG, RG and RT all in the same season for the Packers. He got the most snaps at LT. He graded out very well in pass protection and had zero penalties all year, but was poor as a run blocker. He had a 68.3 PFF grade. LZ had a 6.10 draft grade on Tom with a 4th to 5th round projection. Tom isn't a very strong or physical blocker, but he has very quick feet and good balance. I still think that Tom's best position would be center, but to play there the Packers would have to move Josh Myers to guard or bench him.
Zach Tom was 6'4'' tall, 304 pounds, with 33 1/4'' arms and ran 4.94 seconds in the 40. So, Tom's arms are over a full inch longer than Mauch's arms.
As a pure left tackle, I'd don't feel that Mauch is as good a prospect as Joe Noteboom. As a pure center prospect, I don't think Mauch is as good a prospect as guys like Quinn Meinerz and Josh Myers. On the other hand, we're talking about the 2023 draft and this year's draft is weak at interior OL. In 2014, Gabe Jackson had a 6.40 draft grade from Nolan Nawrocki. Even without the benefit of hindsight, if we solely based it off his tape at Mississippi State, I'd submit to you that Gabe Jackson in 2023 would be the very first interior offensive lineman to get drafted. Jackson wasn't taken until the middle of the 3rd round in 2014. Sure, a big part of that was the 2014 was phenomenally strong at many other positions, such as WR, EDGE, LB and safety. Still, look at the names of linemen drafted in the top 50 that year: Zack Martin, Xavier Su'a Filo, Joel Bitonio, Weston Richburg.
If you think Cody Mauch is a good prospect, have you ever seen Joel Bitonio play in college? Bitonio was a left tackle at Nevada. Enormous amount of power and strength with very athletic feet. Bitonio is on a completely different level than the top guard prospects in this year's draft. Since the 2014 draft was so crazy strong, Bitonio wasn't even a 1st round pick, he was drafted early in the 2nd round.
I 100% feel that Cody Mauch is in the running to be the best guard prospect in the 2023 draft. He might also be the best center prospect. He has more upside than JMS, because Mauch has the potential to be an outstanding pass blocker and to have elite mobility as a run blocker. JMS has some holes in pass pro and since he has athletic limitations he might never be a great pass blocker. JMS has limited effective range as a run blocker, because he doesn't run fast.
On the other hand, I think some of the hype about Mauch is over the top. Just because he might be better than the 2023 crop doesn't mean he'll be better than say all the guys from 2019 or 2021. Mauch has high potential, but he's also an inexperienced and inconsistent player who needs further physical and technical development. He's not nearly as polished a player as JMS. If Mauch were in a different draft class, he might only be about a 3rd round pick. Maybe he'll only end up a 3rd rounder in 2023.
What's the final verdict, the bottom line? I have Cody Mauch as the highest graded offensive lineman I've profiled so far this year. He might not be Bitonio or Saffold and he's not a finished product, but he has good upside and definitely is worth considering for the Rams as a Day 2 pick.