The Atlanta Falcons have been focusing heavily on defensive linemen in this year's draft because the need for depth is still there. Josh Mauro from Stanford is just another one of the guys who they have worked out over the past few months.
According to Kyle Bonagura from ESPN, the Falcons were looking at quite a few Stanford guys in late March. Ideally, Atlanta saw what Mauro could provide from its scheme on its visit and will have him rated accordingly come May.
Combine/Pro Day Measurements
Height: 6'5.875"; Weight: 271 pounds
Arm Length: 33"; Hand Measurement: 9.5"
40-yard dash: 5.21 sec.; 10-yard split: 1.75 sec.
20-yard shuttle: 4.51 sec.; 3-cone Drill: 7.43 sec.; Bench Reps: 21 reps
Vertical Jump: 32.0"; Broad Jump: 9'8"
2013: 13 Games Played, 51 Tackles, 12.5 Tackles for Loss, 4.0 Sacks, 5 QB Hurries, 1 Interception, 2 Fumbles Forced, 1 Pass Deflection
2012: 13 Games Played, 19 Tackles, 7.0 Tackles for Loss, 5.0 Sacks, 1 Fumble Recovered
2011: 13 Games Played, 4 Tackles, 2.0 Tackles for Loss, 2.0 Sacks, 1 Pass Deflection
2010: 8 Games Played, 7 Tackles, 1 Pass Deflection
Mauro plays with quickness that allows him to avoid blockers but also understands how to maintain his proper leverage to stay under them. He combines his proper leverage with a very quick burst off the line in order to shoot gaps proficiently both against the run and the pass.
He’s also one of the few defensive linemen in this draft who understands how to properly use his hands. He’ll reach up and deflect passes. He’ll shed blocks, and he’ll use them to free himself to get after the quarterback. He even understands how to properly time the snap to be the first one off the line.
Mauro seems a bit small to play 3-4 defensive end in the pros, but his skill set is perfect for it. And unfortunately, he seems maxed out in his frame, so getting bigger doesn’t make much sense either. He does have issues because of this in holding up double-teams and will get pushed back.
He needs to add a good bit more functional strength if he wants to be more effective against the run. He’s also not extremely quick and will have trouble with backside pursuit because of it. Also, his experience is primarily in the 3-4, but he could be asked to switch to a 4-3 in the pros.
How does he fit the Comrade Filter?
Mauro has never been arrested nor suspended. However, he’s not the urgent athletic type general manager Thomas Dimitroff tends to go for either. He’s someone who would be a good teammate, but he wasn’t a captain either. He’s a fit for the filter, but he’s not a guy for them to go out of their way for.
In watching Mauro, one name continually stood out as his best comparison—Patrick Kerney. Mauro will need to get a little bit stronger and play in the proper scheme to have the same kind of long-term potential that Kerney showed.
However, even if he’s just a solid run defender who gives his NFL team three or four sacks a season, he’ll be worth a fourth-round pick or higher. Ideally, he plays in a scheme that lets him set the edge on the weak side of the defense as a defensive end.
How he would fit into the Falcons' plans
If the Falcons really wanted to take Mauro, they could probably wait until the fifth round. However, he seems very redundant with Malliciah Goodman and Tyson Jackson on the roster. He’d be the third person on the depth chart for their role.
Overall, Mauro doesn’t really fit Mike Nolan’s multiple-front defense if Atlanta wants someone who will actually make the roster. Sometimes, square pegs get shoved into round holes in the NFL. Let’s just hope this isn’t one of those cases.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus' Premium Stats (subscription required), ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All combine and pro day info is courtesy NFL Draft Scout. All contract information is courtesy of Spotrac and Rotoworld.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, College Football, NFL and the NFL draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.