Maybe it was the shot of him gleefully pretending to play a fiddle to the tune of Alabama’s hit song “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas” when his NDSU team punched their ticket to the FCS national championship last December. Maybe it was that ESPN graphic of the incredible six-year transformation of his time in college that went viral this winter. Maybe it might simply have been the stellar offseason he’s had up through the Senior Bowl.
Whatever it was, if you’re a college football fan, you’ve probably heard of Cody Mauch by now. If you haven’t, it’s time to familiarize yourself.
The North Dakota State Bison are good at a lot of things. They win championships, they run the ball better than most other teams in FCS and, in terms of the NFL, there is no better FCS pipeline to the league when it comes to the offensive line. Since 2014 the Bison have sent four from the position group to the NFL via the draft. Cordell Volson and Dillon Radunz are the two most recent success stories out of Fargo. No NDSU lineman, though, has ever been taken in the first round. That might change this year.
Weighing in at 303 pounds, Cody Mauch stands at 6’6” and is a mauler in every sense of the word. He’s one in a long line that have put on the green and gold at NDSU and, arguably, one of the best the program has ever seen. Lateral agility, balance, toughness, communication and sustainability have all been cited in his scouting reports this offseason. When you watch plays like the one below, it isn’t hard to see why he’s an attractive NFL prospect. All throughout college, Mauch was consistently one of the best players on the field. Simply, he’s one of the best trench guys this year’s class has to offer.
Cody Mauch is that DUDE pic.twitter.com/ewzkBcqoKs— The Transfer Portal CFB (@TPortalCFB) December 10, 2022
After redshirting for NDSU back in 2017, Mauch put together five stellar years for the Bison front - a unit that paved the way for four consecutive 4,000-yard rushing seasons (excluding the shortened Spring 2021 campaign). During his time on the line, Bison quarterbacks were sacked on average just 12.6 times per season. All of that resulted in four national title appearances and three rings.
Mauch’s stock has recently risen once again thanks to his showing at the Senior Bowl. Shifting out of his normal tackle position, Mauch turned heads by taking reps at all five spots on the offensive line in the game and the practices leading up to it. From filling in at guard to even delivering snaps as a center, he put on a clinic in versatility for scouts in Mobile.
His blocking ability in the run game is perhaps his greatest asset. Mauch consistently eats up defenders on his assignments and it doesn’t matter what level of competition we’re talking about. Some might be quick to point out the majority of his collegiate tape is against FCS defenses, but in Alabama earlier this month he regularly went up against FBS guys and won most of those battles too.
Cody Mauch having himself a Senior Bowl pic.twitter.com/sVwQlDPlTI— WeAreBigGuys (@WeAreBigGuys) February 2, 2023
With all that in mind, it’s not surprising to know Mauch has accepted an invite to the NFL Scouting Combine next week in Indianapolis. He is one of only nine FCS stars from this last season to receive such an opportunity and will be looking to keep improving his draft stock. Several draft experts currently have Mauch going in the late first round come April. If that holds true, he would be the first NDSU product since quarterback Trey Lance in 2021 to go in the first round and just the fourth FCS offensive lineman to be a first-round selection dating back to 1997 joining Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning (2022), Chattanooga’s Cole Strange (2022) and Alabama State’s Tytus Howard (2019).
All those potential milestones aside, though, Mauch shapes up to be a great asset regardless of where and when he is taken. Solid offensive line talent is not always easy to come by in and there are several NFL squads in need of help on that front. That help is on its way to a lucky city soon.
The NFL Combine begins February 28 and will go through March 6. The offensive lineman are scheduled to showcase on March 5 on NFL Network.