Age & Offensive Line Development

May 2nd, 2023

Bucs second-round draft pick Cody Mauch is an old rookie.

Fun fact/stunning fact: Bucs rookie offensive lineman Cody Mauch, Tampa Bay’s second-round pick, is older than fourth-year All-Pro tackle Tristan Wirfs.

Courtesy of COVID-driven NCAA rule changes, Mauch spent six seasons at North Dakota State.

Former Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith was drafted by Tampa Bay at 21 years old back in 2015. Later in that draft’s second round, guard Ali Marpet was selected a few days after his 22nd birthday. Ryan Jensen was 21 when the Ravens picked him.

Joe wonders whether older offensive linemen coming out in the draft now have the same ceiling as the younger dudes of years past.

Eventually, a stat nerd will study that in detail and come up with a weird acronym to explain the findings. But Joe thinks it’s worth considering that an older draftee, one that comes from a program that does a good job producing O-linemen like North Dakota State, might be much closer to his potential than the younger player who is less developed physically and mentally.

Do front offices around the NFL prefer an older college lineman because the teams know more about what they’re getting? Or would they rather have the younger player to mold, a guy still adding man weight and power to his young body?

Joe suspects there are strong opinions among GMs around the league.

Joe has listened to many interviews of Mauch and read stories about his work-ethic-driven background on his family farm, as well as his devotion in the classroom. He graduated in December 2021 with a degree in agricultural and biosystems engineering.

Mauch obviously is well-equipped to thrive in the NFL and learn quickly, it’s just unclear to Joe whether he’s got the same growth potential as second-round picks of years past.

28 Responses to “Age & Offensive Line Development”


    Watched quite a few NDSU games…….he’s a player…….one intangible is love of the game…..I believe Devin White has lost that, he’s more focused on money…..a player like Mauch will focus on winning a job, learning and developing into a higher-paid player.

  2. Dooley Says:

    There are more of these older players coming out because the NCAA gave every athlete effected by Bovid an additional year of eligibility back in 2021. There are players who got 6 years of eligibility because of the shortened season due to the sickness and it’s why players like Hooker, Mauch, and others were the ages they were upon being drafted.

  3. Brandon Says:

    Front offices DEFINITELY take age into account when looking at players. We will be seeing over aged players all the way until the last of the COVID redshirts have made their way through. I’ve never seen so many over aged prospects in a draft year like this one. For reference on player ages and drafting….

    OG Danny Watkins of Baylor was a 1st rounder… I believe he was 28. Huge bust.
    DT Peria Jerry drafted by the Falcons was a 1st rounder. He was 25. Bust
    DE Gaines Adams did prep school for a year, then redshirted, when he got to the Bucs. He was 24… not as old as some of these guys but older.

    The list goes on and on… a few QBs (Weeden, Weinke) and other positions but the positions that I feel it most impacts are LINE and QB. In no other area is physical development more pronounced between a 21 year old and 25 than the LINE. Likewise with maturity which is required of QBs.

    With the older rookies, they have nearly reached their physical peaks. In the case of Gaines Adams. The guy didn’t truly dominate in college until his 5th and 6th years out of high school. That’s a giant red flag to me. He was a man playing against boys. There’s no doubt that NFL teams are careful when evaluating over aged prospects. I think it is a big reason why Hooker was taken where he actually belonged and not in round 1. The dude was just decent at Va Tech for four years before he blossomed in his 5th and 6th seasons. Of course, he was smarter, more mature, more physically ready. These older prospects will never have these same physical and mental advantages again.

  4. Canabuc Says:

    I think this works both ways. I think what it does is provide you with a more mature athlete who has more college reps under his belt and therefore might be more NFL ready at the start of his career.

    Perhaps his upside may be slightly more capped but at the same time they still have not had NFL coaching NFL training staff working on getting their body physically more ready for the NFL so I think that the upside is not reduced anywhere near as much as the maturity level is higher. This is why I think some of the guys we drafted might be day one contributors as opposed to guys who have to sit and learn for a year.

    Also when you think about it given how few number of players end up staying with the same team on a second contract I don’t think being 24 instead of 23 should be much of big deal as that only really comes into play 7 or 8 years down the road.

  5. Doc Says:

    Age do not matter, experience is the number one factor. If you come out after six years that mean the body has a lot more wear and tear. As a amall school player it will take about two years before he can catch up with the speed of the n.f.l I perfer a younger player base on the above facts and bad habits are easy to break in a young player then a old player.

  6. miken Says:

    If Cody Plays G then I’m not sure why they didn’t take the UF kid and why they traded up.

  7. Dooley Says:


    Our draft team probably liked Cody more or had him higher on their board, also “initially” lining up at G is something Licht stressed after drafting Mauch. All of our draftees, have come with the athleticism to posses scheme versatility which has had value for our front office over the last 3-4 drafts.

    Mauch still has to beat the likes of Leverett, Hainsey, and Stinnie out for one of the 2 open guard spots and even IF he has to sit behind any those guys it’s likely he’ll be cross trained as a tackle as well. Torrence, if that’s who you’re talking about, doesn’t come with that flexibility, nor does he come with that jomsviking/Asgardian aesthetic lol

  8. Rand Says:

    Well at least by the time they reach contract extensions and we can’t afford him anymore he’s almost ready to retire.

  9. Mr. Editor Says:

    Is this why the Bucs drafted at least three players (Kancey, Mauch, Diaby) who are/will be 24 years old by the time the season starts? Dennis is 23 yo. Age seems to matter for particular positions, such as running back.

  10. NashvilleBuc Says:

    Mauch and Jensen are going to raise some hell on and off the field.

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Age really doesn’t matter with draft picks…..can they play & can they play now matters.

    As far as Mauch is concerned……he’s young enough to have lost his baby teeth……

  12. sasquatch Says:

    As long as Mauch still has room for getting stronger and a little bigger, his age shouldn’t really be a negative. Naturally, when you invest a high draft pick, you want to imagine success and a long career. If he gets to a second contract, say another 4 year deal, he’ll be 32 at the end. Getting 8 years out your draft pick isn’t too bad.

    Hopefully he’s successful sooner rather than later.

  13. SlyPirate Says:

    I’m not as high on this guy as everyone else. It just feels like Licht “gets sold” these small school guys. Ali was great. Cappa was average. Goedeke sucked. You see a trend.

  14. Rob S Tampa Says:

    I think we should be cautious in saying Goedeke sucked without context. He was moved from playing RT to LG. I’ll be interested to see how much progress he makes in year 2. If memory serves even Ronde Barber did not light up the NFL world after his first season. I think sometimes we should be a bit more patient with players and look for signs of growth and improvement from Year 1 to 2 to 3, etc.

  15. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    And when he’s done playing football he can take over turf management. Win-win.

  16. Geno711 Says:

    Doesn’t phase 2 of the offseason workouts start today.

    It’s voluntary but don’t typically most of the offensive lineman come to train.

    i.e. Offensive lineman would lineup with Dave Canales and the offensive line coaches actually getting their first (non-contact) practices of showing the offensive line how the Wide Zone Scheme will work. As well as doing actual offensive line drills.

    My hope is that Ryan Jensen is able to do drills. My concern is that the Bucs are not releasing any information about his knee and that it is still not healed.

    Where are the investigative reporters!?

  17. sasquatch Says:

    Should also stop with the “Goedeke sucked” crap since he was a rookie asked to make a few major transitions — right to left, tackle to guard, and small school to NFL, and his early season was a string of upper echelon opponents lined up across from him. To grade him so harshly is retarded and unfair. The same talent is there, and he’ll be back at right tackle, where he showed up strong in the final regular season game.

    Impatient, intolerant, alleged fans are the worst.

  18. Brandon Says:

    Mr. Editor Says:
    May 2nd, 2023 at 10:04 am
    Is this why the Bucs drafted at least three players (Kancey, Mauch, Diaby) who are/will be 24 years old by the time the season starts? Dennis is 23 yo. Age seems to matter for particular positions, such as running back.


    Actually, age matters least with RBs when it comes to the draft. It’s touches that are usually the highest importance in regard to an NFL RB’s longevity. A 25 year old prospect has tons of physical and mental advantages over a 21 year old. These advantages are most apparent at the LINE positions and QB. The positions it seems to matter least are actually WR, RB, and DB. These positions are most impacted by speed, not strength, and players don’t usually get much faster between 21 and 25 but they do get stronger. There are tons of NFL RBs that came in and did extremely well at the age of 25 and 26. Christian Okoye was a 25 year old rookie and Mike Anderson was 26. They dominated for a very short time. LINE players that come in at 25, they will not get a ton stronger like a 21 year old will. This difference is the fact that a 21 year old might have had a maximum of five years in a strength program and a 25 year old closer, to 10. They’re far closer to their physical peak strength while a 21 year old still has 4-7 years.

  19. Geno711 Says:

    Last year in the NFL the offensive lineman as a whole sucked. Meaning that they all got exposed. The Carolina and Seattle OT’s who were picked in the top 10 gave up lots of sacks and penalties. There was no 1st year wonder like Wirfs.

    Looking back on the year Wirfs was picked. Willis and Thomas were 2 other offensive tackles picked before him. They both “sucked” their 1st year. Both of them have improved enough to get their 5th year option.

    Of the other 4 offensive lineman picked in the first round (Becton, Jackson, Wilson, and Ruiz), none had their 5th year option picked up.

    Becton, Jackson were not good in their first year. They are just guys at this point. Ruiz had a solid 1st year as a center, but then has not gotten any better. Isiah Wilson (a Sean Sullivan favorite) is out of the league.

    I am with the group of people on this site that think you have to wait to see if a guy is going to be worth it.

  20. Danati1 Says:

    Ya a player is not a bust after 1 year. Especially playing different position and mostly using your other arm more…the one your not used to…takes some getting used to. Jason likes smaller school OL men..I do too as long as they dominate. This guy does look like a BUCS OL men.

  21. Goatfarmer Says:

    So he is really smart in addition to being big, strong, ugly and toofess. Excellent bonus.

  22. Buc1987 Says:

    Jason loves the gingers!

  23. Jim Says:

    next up: bucs sign donovan smith and teddy bridgewater

  24. Rod Munch Says:

    Based on what I’ve seen and read, he profiles to be a step up from Cappa, but not on-par with someone like Marpet. But hey, I’m fine with that, you can’t have ALL-PRO’s at every position, and a solid reliable starter half-way through the 2nd round is a good find.

    All the guys the Bucs drafted were older, and nearly all of them had high RAS scores, meaning the Bucs are getting guys who are already physically developed and should be able to play early, hopefully with less of a rookie learning curve. It’s almost like Licht actually wants to win this year – which is stupid, since the Bucs would be much better of tanking and trying to win next year, when they got a new coach and a new QB.

  25. teacherman777 Says:

    @rod munch

    Tanking destroys the culture.

    We must maintain a team with a fighting spirit.

    We need guys like Jensen, David, Pierre-Paul, Gholston and Carlton Davis.

    Guys who give 110% every snap. Every game.

    We can’t let a “losers mentality” back in Tampa.

    We drafted guys who love football. Guys who are fighters.

    I like Lichts style.

    He drafts men of character. Men who are fighters. Not divas.

    Bye bye Devin White.

    He’s from Louisiana. Send him to Texas for a 2nd rounder and a 4th rounder.

  26. Rod Munch Says:

    teacherman777 Says:
    Tanking destroys the culture.


    “Culture” is loser talk that people say as an excuse for not winning – that while the team isn’t winning, they have a ‘winning culture’ and they’re going to turn it around.

    No, what wins games, what turns things around, is having a top flight head coach, a top flight QB, and talent. The Bucs have talent, but are lacking the other two.

    Also, how do you change the ‘culture’? Well, by firing the head coach and bringing in a whole new staff, which is almost certainly going to be the outcome of this season when the team goes 5-12. Personally, I’ll take the 3-14 record and the 1st overall pick, and worry about the ‘culture’ later.

    But that’s just me, I don’t run the team so it doesn’t actually matter what I think.

  27. JBBucs_06 Says:

    I don’t EVER want the Bucs to get into tanking. I’d much rather have a competitive team than a team that absolutely sucks for multiple years to get a top draft pick. Top draft picks don’t always work out. This core has some winning and toughness in it. Jensen, Wirfs, Winfield Jr, ME13, CG14, LD54….I’m hoping they don’t tank for a top QB prospect. Kills their vibe.

    As for Bowles, I don’t like how they transitioned from Bruce to Bowles, but he was given a statue (and fearful TB12) and rightly so….w/o Jensen, Marpet with rookies up the gut, it was a doomed year. We should have won back2back. That was the window. It goes to show that there’s NO guarantee that w/ a diff coach or QB we win a Superbowl. Plenty of teams w/ good coach and QB and they don’t win it all. Stay competitive.

  28. garro Says:

    Rod Munch

    Been a Bucs fan since before we had a franchise and I attended the games at the Old Sombrero when we were trying to get the attention of the NFL. Went through the 0-26 years and not once was “tanking” even an afterthought… Or even a thing back then!

    This “tanking” talk is disgusting to me. Winning at the cost of pride, honor and integrity is a hollow victory! The victory of a 1st round QB draft pick who has at best a 40% Bust rate.?

    I played the game for over six years. Myself and the guys I played with had more honor and pride than to allow such a thing! No real competitor is ever…ever going to roll over and take losing.

    I’m a Buc fan and truly love it when we win. If we “tank” I will lobby for the NFL to penalize us. More than the lost first round draft pick Miami got this year for tampering and tanking!