By Joseph Beyda
Josh Mauro, Defensive End
Alter ego: “Bull in a china shop.” That’s the nickname Mauro earned from defensive coordinator Derek Mason last spring as he emerged as one of the Cardinal’s most disruptive defensive players.
CBSSports.com projection: 6th round
Cardinal career: Mauro flew mostly under the radar in his first three years on the Farm, despite appearing as a reserve in 22 games during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons. That all changed in 2012, when he racked up 6 sacks, 19 tackles and a pair of fumble recoveries as one of Stanford’s first defensive linemen off the bench.
Still, he was overshadowed as a true senior by the likes of Terrence Stephens, Ben Gardner and Henry Anderson, and with a stacked Cardinal front seven returning for 2013, it was unclear whether Mauro would have his moment in the spotlight.
But that kind of moment did come in 2013 — and it came in droves. With Gardner and Anderson missing significant stretches of the season and the upstart Ikenna Nwafor sidelined as well, Mauro would start 11 games, record 51 tackles (more than double the total of any other true defensive lineman on the team), force a pair of fumbles and intercept a pass. In the process, Mauro didn’t just provide Stanford with the snaps it sorely needed at the position; he also made a name for himself, earning All-Pac-12 honorable mention and an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game.
Pro stock: Scouts are evaluating Mauro as a competitive, physical defensive lineman who could contribute at the next level. Mauro is not expected to be a successful pass-rusher in the NFL — he ran the slowest 40-yard dash time (5.21) of the 28 defensive ends at the NFL Combine — but his strength is encouraging. Mauro’s 29 bench press reps at Stanford’s pro day were a team-high, and also an eight-rep improvement from his Combine performance. A late-round draft selection is certainly not out of the question after Mauro’s breakout 2013 season.
Highlight: Though Usua Amanam was named 2013 Rose Bowl defensive MVP for his game-sealing interception, it was Mauro who tipped the ball at the line to give the Cardinal the win in Pasadena. Mauro consistently got his hands on passes over his last two seasons.
Earlier in the same game, he read a Wisconsin run perfectly for a monster hit.
Contact Joseph Beyda at jbeyda ‘at’ stanford.edu.