In April, the Seattle Seahawks selected former Mississippi State tackle Charles Cross with the No. 9 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 2021 First Team All-SEC selection and NFL Combine participant was the first pick for the Seahawks. Here are eight things you may not know about the Seahawks new projected starting left tackle. And keep an eye out on Seahawks.com throughout the summer for things to know on more Seahawks draft picks and newcomers.
1. Sweet Feet
You have to be pretty nimble at 6-foot-5 and 307 pounds to earn the nickname "Sweet Feet." a name Cross has worn with pride since garnering the nickname during his time at Mississippi State. Cross is known for his smooth, quick footwork, allowing him to keep up with pass rushers of all sizes and speeds. Mississippi State is known for playing a pass-heavy Air Raid offense under Head Coach Mike Leach. Cross played the most pass-blocking downs (719) of any tackle in the class per Pro Football Focus in 2021. Cross allowed just 16 pressures for the Bulldogs for the season. On draft day, Leach discussed Cross' impact on the program, as well as his sweet feet.
"You only have to correct him once," said Leach "And not only does he have great feet, there's other people that may run faster than him, but he has no wasted steps and he's very fluid in everything he does."
Cross put that footwork on display for the world to see in the NFL Combine, as he dazzled in the 40-yard-dash and individual drills.
2. Hoop Dreams: Basketball Background
Cross' athleticism has aided him in becoming one of the nation's best pass blockers. In addition to football, Cross' basketball background helped his footwork on the field. At Laurel High in his native state of Mississippi, Cross played small and power forward; helping the Tornadoes win consecutive Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 5A State Championships between 2016-17. At his introductory press conference, Cross discussed his hooping days.
"I really couldn't tell you the exact numbers," Cross said, "but I know every game I played in I got a double-double."
3. Learning the Piano
While Cross may be focusing on jump-starting his NFL career with the Seahawks, he's also using his free time to learn a new hobby. Cross has taken to Youtube to learn how to play the piano.
Maybe we will get a duet with Coach Carroll in the near future.
Cross discussed his new hobby during his Seahawks introductory press conference.
"The past year, I've been trying to learn to play the piano, so I've just been working on that sometimes too," said Cross.
4. Seafood Lover: Charles the Fisherman
Aside from learning to play the piano, a longtime hobby of Cross' is fishing. In addition to catching it, Cross enjoys eating it too.
5. First of the Century: Top-10
With the Seahawks selecting Cross No.9 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft, he became the first Mississippi State Bulldog to be called in the Top-10 since running back Michael Haddix in 1983. Cross is the No.15 Bulldog to be selected in the first round, and the sixth selected within the top-10 picks. Cross joins Seahawks legend K.J. Wright as part of the six Bulldogs drafted by the Seahawks in team history.
6. The Negotiator: No Agent Necessary
Cross made history on draft night in many ways; notably becoming the highest-drafted player in league history without agent representation. On June 2, Cross officially signed his rookie contract representing himself.
7. Who Let The Dogs Out: Bulldog Pride
While the Laurel native may still be learning his way around the Emerald City, he's got several players to connect with via their Bulldog ties. Cross joins fellow tackle and former Bulldog Greg Eiland, who signed with the team in 2021 as an undrafted free agent. In camp, Cross has gotten familiar with fellow Bulldog alum Gabe Jackson. Entering his ninth season, Jackson was selected No. 81 overall by the then-Oakland Raiders in 2014.
8. On The Cross: Pass Protection
Across the board, scouts and evaluators have praised Cross for his pass blocking abilities. After taking over as a full-time starter in 2020, Cross allowed 6 sacks and 44 total pressures on 574 pass-blocking snaps per Pro Football Focus. In 2021, he took a major leap, allowing just two sacks and 16 pressures on 719 pass-blocking snaps. PFF also graded the First Team All-SEC standout as the top pass blocker for the conference in 2021.
Check out photos of Seahawks first-round pick Charles Cross from his 2022 offseason in Seattle. The offensive tackle out of Mississippi State was selected No. 9 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.