Arizona Cardinals: Five players poised for increased roles in 2017
Most casual NFL fans have probably never heard of defensive lineman Josh Mauro. Going undrafted and toiling in the trenches will do that for you. But Cardinals fans are quite familiar with the work of this high-motor, 3-4 defensive end out of Stanford.
Mauro is one of those high-effort, blue-collar players (as odd as it might be to associate a Stanford alumnus with the term “blue-collar”), who seems to consistently make plays. Mauro grades out much better against the run than he does rushing the pass – in fact, among all front seven personnel on the roster, only Markus Golden, Calais Campbell, Kevin Minter, and Deone Bucannon were better against the run than Mauro in 2016.
Mauro is one of those high-effort, blue-collar players (as odd as it might be to associate a Stanford alumnus with the term “blue-collar”), who seems to consistently make plays.
Coaches have noticed Mauro’s effort and propensity for making plays, and he has carved out a steady role in the defensive rotation. As part of this rotation in 2016, he played in 15 games and recorded 32 combined tackles.
Despite his already-significant role on the defensive front, it seems there is a distinct possibility that his involvement could increase further still. The key factor in this equation has less to do with Mauro – though he has certainly done his part to earn increased snaps – and more to do with Calais Campbell’s uncertain future as a member of the Cardinals.
If Campbell moves on, there will be a six foot eight inch void to fill on the defensive line. At six foot six inches, Mauro is not Calais Campbell, but he is also no pushover.
Prediction: Campbell moves on, and Mauro’s snap count increases by at least 100 snaps in 2017.