There have been more than a few FCS tackles to disrupt the order in recent years. In the 2023 NFL Draft, North Dakota State OT Cody Mauch is the one to watch with his scouting report. Mauch will win over teams with his play style, but he’s more than just an angry blocker.
Cody Mauch NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Offensive Tackle
- School: North Dakota State
- Current Year: Redshirt Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’6″, 303 pounds
North Dakota State is the titan of the FCS. They win often, and a large reason why is because they consistently win in the trenches. It’s not surprising to learn that the Bison have produced several quality NFL offensive linemen over the years.
In the past decade especially, North Dakota State has been surprisingly productive as an NFL talent developer. Bison products like Billy Turner, Joe Haeg, Dillon Radunz, and most recently, Cordell Volson have all carved out respectable careers.
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Together, those four have set a high bar to clear for future Bison prospects. But that’s no trouble for Mauch, who potentially has the ceiling to surpass them all.
Mauch has come a long way since joining the Bison as a high school tight end, quarterback, and defensive end in 2017. He went from redshirt, to scout team player, to backup tackle, to All-American starter. Soon, early-round 2023 NFL Draft pick could be added to his list of accomplishments.
Cody Mauch Scouting Report
With FCS linemen like Trevor Penning, Cole Strange, and Braxton Jones finding success in the 2022 NFL Draft, Mauch bears noting as a player who can carry the torch in 2023.
Mauch comes with the skill set you’d expect from a former standout HS tight end. He’s a tall athlete with a fairly lean frame with decent mass at 6’6″, 303 pounds. The most striking and telling characteristic regarding his past, however, is his elite functional athleticism.
Against FCS and FBS opponents alike, Mauch’s movement ability pops. He’s an energetic short-area blocker and lateral mover, who’s extremely quick out of his sets and fleet-footed when matching rushers. Meanwhile, in space, Mauch is an explosive athlete who gains ground upfield quickly off the line and brings exceptional range as a moving blocker.
Mauch has the high-end explosiveness to overtake the 4i as a moving blocker and seal out, and he reaches the second level incredibly quickly when flowing through open lanes. Meanwhile, in pass protection, Mauch shows off scary recovery athleticism and corrective twitch after contact. He can reset his base and positioning with eye-popping quickness and ease.
In spite of his lacking proportional length, Mauch has very good raw power. The North Dakota State OT can shock defenders at contact with full two-hand extensions, properly leveraging his base. He also channels acquired leverage and momentum into run blocks, maximizing power output.
Mauch is able to torque rushers out of plays at the apex with hips and full extensions. Most notably, his explosive athleticism translates to menacing leg drive. He surges into blocks and bulldozes opponents to the second level.
Though he can get stronger, Mauch does have the “butte strong” gene you’d expect from a product of Hankinson, North Dakota — showing good relative strength for his size and mass. He has the necessary core strength to anchor and stall rushes after first countering with independent hands.
With his tall frame, Mauch walls off opponents. Furthermore, he has the grip strength to seal off edge rushers on run plays after violently extending and latching.
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For his size, Mauch has solid knee bend and can acquire leverage and establish a solid center of gravity in pass protection. He’s able to play with controlled lean past his center of gravity to maximize reach while maintaining leverage. That leverage acquisition is even more consistent in the running game, where Mauch effectively lowers his pads and aligns himself to maximize leverage and drive while anchoring under opposing pads.
In pass protection, Mauch is superb at staying square with opponents, maintaining a strong base, and keeping equilibrium. But he’s also flexible enough to adjust when he needs to. He’s able to turn his hips to seal rushers out at the apex and sustain leg churn, as well as direct linebackers in space with quick hip swivels. In space, he has enough looseness in his hips to quickly adjust blocking angles and correct his positioning.
Mauch’s athleticism translates incredibly well in both phases, but especially as a pass protector, his existing upside is very exciting. The North Dakota State OT’s short-area energy allows him to quickly reset his base positioning and width when needed, and he has exceptional foot speed on recovery. On more routine reps, however, Mauch is able to widen his base and keep his hands tight to absorb and stymy power rushes.
Going further, Mauch is able to tilt his feet out to properly absorb attacks, sustain leverage, and transfer weight. The North Dakota State OT has also shown to maintain control on his kick based on defender alignment. In spite of his high-energy athleticism and aggression, Mauch very rarely plays without restraint.
On top of his smooth footwork, Mauch stacks very efficient, calculated hand usage. Even without elite length, he violently extends and latches, with a good sense of timing. He often waits until defenders work across face and enter his wheelhouse before punching, showing great synergy and balance as a pass protector. At contact, Mauch can quickly strike and torque through two-hand extensions, to lock out defenders and stall their advances.
We’ve mentioned that Mauch keeps his hands tight, but he can do so while also targeting individual extensions and quickly replacing his anchor. He brings efficient hands in pass protection and flashes elite independent hand usage. The ND State OT can successively punch the outside shoulder and chop hands before anchoring while keeping his matching technique steady.
Mauch attracts awe with his athleticism, power, and technique. But above it all, he’s a hyper-elite physical threat with constant energy and tenacity as a competitor. He launches into contact situations and relishes the chance to make defenders eat grass.
Additionally, Mauch is a constant hustle player when pursuing his assignments. He brings a mauler mentality, but Mauch isn’t reckless by any means. In fact, his awareness is another very strong quality on tape.
He’s shown to quickly attain proper alignment, drag interior rushers, then adjust his split to wall off outside rushers. Mauch is an alert pass protector who quickly processes disguised blitzing looks and adjusts accordingly, and is adept at recognizing delayed blitzers and repositioning himself.
In the running game, Mauch’s awareness shows up as well, and it once again translates to impressive efficiency. Mauch stacks blocks to the second level with both urgency and patience, fulfilling assignments and working upfield with relentless efficiency. He has great spatial and angle awareness, and it shows up frequently on stacked blocks in close quarters, where Mauch seals off defenders in rapid succession.
Mauch’s Areas for Improvement
Perhaps the biggest knock on Mauch this cycle will be regarding his proportional length. At 6’6″, with arms likely under 33″ long, his proportional length is below average.
Mauch has shown he can counteract this to a degree with technique, but his lacking length does put a slight cap on his raw-power capacity, rendering it non-elite. Additionally, he sometimes bends at the waist a bit when over-extending to compensate for his length, negating his lower body and putting his balance at risk.
Moving on, at 303 pounds, Mauch is a bit light for his size, and his core strength isn’t elite. At times, he struggles to plant and suffocate rushes off initial contact. Moreover, he doesn’t quite have the lower body strength to take over reps downhill consistently and can get worked upright after contact. At contact, Mauch occasionally fails to latch as well, sometimes grazing and slipping past opponents on the move.
At his height, Mauch sometimes plays too tall while mirroring rushers to the apex. And when he’s upright and has his hands too wide at contact, he can be easy to topple off-balance against opposing power. This can be exacerbated further when Mauch occasionally exits phase in pass protection while mirroring. While his footwork is generally exceptional, he sometimes staggers his feet a bit, impeding his balance at contact.
Lastly, Mauch does show slight hip stiffness at the apex at times. He can’t always successively rotate base while matching arcing rushers. With his hands, he sometimes extends a bit too early and lurches — an imperfection NFL rushers will be able to exploit.
Current Draft Projection for North Dakota State OT Cody Mauch
Mauch is in line to be the next early-round FCS offensive tackle in the 2023 NFL Draft. He grades out as a top-50 prospect. With his athleticism, power, and mean streak, it’s not out of the question that he becomes a surprise first-round riser — similar to Strange in the 2022 cycle.
A lot hinges on the Senior Bowl and the NFL Combine for Mauch, but he has the tools to show out in both settings. He’s an elite athlete on tape with a rare mix of corrective agility, explosiveness off the line, and range in space.
Mauch is an absolutely powerful finisher at the point of attack and has the leverage acquisition, footwork, and hand usage to maximize his traits while minimizing his limitations.
Particularly as a pass protector, Mauch can become a bit more consistent in managing his leverage, and his below-average proportional length is something he’ll always have to combat. But for prospects who have this limitation, it’s important to see if they have the athleticism and operational skills to counteract. Mauch does.
With his length, it’s been speculated that Mauch could move to the interior. While his explosiveness, power, and physicality would be a potentially dominant combination there, I think he has the tools to stay at tackle and become an impact starter with some scheme versatility. He’s a bulldozer with range in the run game and a highly competent pass protector with the high-level talent to thrive at the NFL level.