Josh Mauro: In The Trenches


The Pro Football Central draft series continues as Turron Davenport sat down with Stanford defensive end Josh Mauro. Mauro will be a great acquisition for whatever team that drafts him. His versatility is one of his many strong attributes. He is more than able to fill in at a multitude of roles whether it be in a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme.

Mauro played defensive end, defensive tackle and nose tackle while at Stanford University. He is one of the most versatile defensive linemen in this year’s draft class. He said that he is comfortable playing any position on the defensive line. Mauro credited his coaching staff for allowing him to play different positions along the defensive line.

The NFL Scouting Combine gave Mauro an opportunity to show off his athleticism and he took full advantage of it. His results compared favorably to many of the other interior defensive linemen. Mauro measured in at 6-5 282 pounds and had a ten yard split of 1.80 seconds. His broad jump was almost ten feet (9’8″) while his vertical was 32 inches. The vertical and broad jump results where better than any of the defensive ends/defensive tackles selected in the 2013 NFL draft except for Sheldon Richardson.

The results that Mauro achieved were due in large part to the plyometrics and other quick twitch workout techniques that helped to cultivate the explosion that he showed in the vertical and long jump. He showed the athleticism that is needed to be a standout defensive lineman on the next level.

Mauro grew up in the Dallas, Texas area and says that his favorite team was the Dallas Cowboys when he was younger. His favorite player however was Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. Mauro said that he admired not only his play but more importantly the way that Lewis  affected his teammates as a leader. I felt that it was interesting that an inside linebacker was Mauro’s favorite player growing up because the work that he does in the trenches is exactly what allows inside linebackers such as Ray Lewis to freelance and make plays in the 3-4 defense. This was exactly the case at Stanford as Mauro fought in the trenches while Shane Skov racked up the numbers.

One of my favorite plays by Mauro was when he intercepted a pass against Arizona State University. He showed that he has good hands when he caught the ball and ran down the sideline before getting tackled. Mauro told me that he wanted to take it back for a pick six. I asked him if he would have done a dance and he was very quick to say that he wouldn’t have done anything to cause his team to be penalized. That shows the discipline and team mindset that has been instilled in him. Mauro also showed his fun side when he said that if he was in the NFL, he would treat his fans to a touchdown dance if he was able to score. My suggestion was the Ravishing Rick Rude dance from the WWF back in the day.

Josh+Mauro+Stanford+v+Oregon+xQw8k5beyG4xThe East West Shrine game was one of the all star games that Mauro got to take part in. When asked about the best part of his experience, Mauro was quick to mention the visits to the hospital and the interaction with the children there. He spoke about how rewarding it was to have the privilege of brightening their day. That was something that stood out to me. We were in the midst of a football discussion and the first thing that came to mind when I asked him about an all star football game was an off the field human interest experience. That tells me that Mauro sees the big picture. He sees this opportunity that he has to impact the lives of others. Another highlight according to Mauro was the opportunity to work with one of the West team’s coaches,  former NFL player, Anthony Pleasant.

Defensive coordinators now want to be able to have players that can stay on the field in multiple packages. Mauro can play in an assortment of them. His speed and quickness can create some match up problems against interior linemen in sub packages. His strength is also an advantage when it comes to the running game. The long arms (33 inches) that he has will allow him to get into the offensive linemen’s chest plate before they can get to him. He told me that he has heard comparisons to Brett Keisel when it comes to an NFL player. Keisel had a long career and was looked upon by those who know the game as one of the better defensive linemen. That’s not a bad comparison for Mauro.

I asked Mauro who he likes to watch now and without hesitation, J.J. Watt was the first name he mentioned. Mauro told me that he had been referred to as a “poor man’s J.J. Watt.” I found that to be kind of funny. His high motor reminds me a lot of Justin Smith. I think that Smith is a very good comparison for Mauro not only because their body type is very similar. Smith is 6-4 285 pounds while Mauro is 6-5 285 pounds. The similarities continue when you watch them on tape. Mauro and Smith both make plays on the other side of the line. Their high motor pushes them to pursue the ball wherever it goes. They have a non stop motor that allows them to make plays as they pursuit the ball from the opposite side.

Josh Mauro’s agent Steve Caric of Caric Sports Management will be busy making arrangements for Mauro to visit with various teams across the country because of his scheme diversity. Mauro will work out on March 2oth at Stanford’s pro day. He is an immediate impact prospect that is flying under the radar. Keep your eyes on this do it all defensive lineman as the draft season continues.