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Get To Know Seahawks First-Round Pick Charles Cross

Scouting reports and other things to know about Mississippi State left tackle Charles Cross, the Seahawks’ first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Mississippi State offensive lineman Charles Cross smiles as he leaves the stage after being selected by the Seattle Seahawks during the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)
Mississippi State offensive lineman Charles Cross smiles as he leaves the stage after being selected by the Seattle Seahawks during the 2022 NFL Draft on Thursday, April 28, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Kevin Sabitus/NFL)

The Seahawks used the ninth pick of the 2022 draft to select Mississippi State left tackle Charles Cross, a player general manager John Schneider referred to as "a pillar at left tackle" for Seattle going forward.

"The guy just checks all the boxes," Schneider said Thursday night. "When he was still there (at No. 9), it was a big deal."

Said Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, "There's just nothing that we didn't like. Really, every aspect of it—the grit that he brings is going to be really a complement to the rest of our guys."

In addition to Carroll and Schneider's thoughts on the Cross pick, which you can read here, here are five things to know about the Seahawks' first-round pick:

1. He's was near the top of almost everyone's draft rankings.

Cross was one of the nation's top recruits coming out of high school, and he lived up to that billing with the Bulldogs, earning first-team All-SEC honors last season, as well as All-America recognition from ESPN and The Sporting News.

According to Pro Football Focus, which had Cross as the No. 3 prospect, regardless of position, on their big board, Cross allowed only 16 pressures on 719 pass-blocking snaps in 2021. Perhaps most impressively, he didn't allow a pressure on 66 pass-blocking snaps against Alabama last season.

Here are some of the pre-draft scouting reports on Cross:

Where he wins: Length

Cross has prototypical traits to be a blindside pass protector. His feet, length and core strength are all top notch. He's been in pass protection a ton over the past two seasons.

What's his role: Left Tackle

Cross is a left tackle. There will likely be a learning curve early on but get this guy on the football field.

What can he Improve: Footwork

The most encouraging thing for Cross is that he can still improve a lot of areas within his skill set. He graded very well despite inconsistent footwork.

Shades of: Laremy Tunsil

Two-year starter who plays with a high level of consistency from game to game, no matter the opponent. Cross is an average athlete but he's strong, plays to his length and has sticky, strong hands. Despite limited starting experience, he's well-schooled and knows how to play. He has average slide range, so edge rockets are going to beat him to the top of the rush at times, but he does a nice job of utilizing length and footwork to recover when beaten. He plays with strong, inside hands and a broad, powerful core. He's an ace at neutralizing power rushers and is above average in sustain and finish modes as a drive blocker. Cross' play strength, hand placement and body control should allow for a relatively smooth transition into the league, where he can become a good, long-time starter at either tackle position.

A two-year starter at Mississippi State, Cross lined up exclusively at left tackle in head coach Mike Leach's Air Raid offense. He fast-tracked his development and comfort level on an island versus SEC competition, winning the Kent Hull Trophy in 2021 as the top lineman in the state of Mississippi. Cross has above-average foot quickness, body control and functional length to attack, reset and get the job done versus edge rushers. His run blocking is a work in progress (78.9 percent of his college snaps were pass-blocking plays), but he flashes the hand strength and angles to out-leverage defenders. Overall, Cross lacks ideal bulk and power, especially in the run game, but he processes things quickly and shows outstanding hand exchange and movement patterns in pass protection. He projects as an NFL starter with Pro Bowl-level talent thanks to his pass blocking

Charles Cross came to Mississippi State as a 5-star prospect and is a two year starter in Mike Leach's Air Raid, zone-based run scheme with 22 starts at left tackle.

Cross has the rare combination of being an explosive and smooth mover with tremendous balance to consistently stay on his feet and in front of defenders. He uses expert-level hand placement to latch into the armpit area of defenders, with the dexterity to reset if his latch is broken.

Even without a high quantity of reps as a run-blocker, the quality is high. Cross syncs his hands and feet to strike, lift and drive defenders off the ball on angle-drive blocks with the quickness to cut off back-side 3-techniques plus climb and intersect 'backers at the second level.

Cross can occasionally overset rushers who know how to set up their moves with stutters and can adjust more quickly to post-snap movement across his face as a run-blocker. He was also not tested with many wide rush angles because of playing with wider splits in the Air Raid system, so he will likely need time to adjust his set points early on as a pro.

Overall, Cross has a strong case for being the most polished and talented pass-blocker in the draft despite only 22 starts under his belt. He brings starter-level play strength and physicality as a run-blocker, making him an immediate-impact starter.

Average-sized left tackle with great athleticism and excellent foot speed. Cross excels in pass protection thanks to patience, balance and excellent reactive quickness. He is a positional blocker in the run game, failing to displace defenders. Cross projects as a starting left tackle early on in his career. As he gets stronger and learns more techniques, he has the potential to become one of the best pass protectors in the NFL.

A 5-star Rivals recruit (17th nationally) in the Class of 2019, Cross flipped from Florida State to the Bulldogs. He received a few snaps as a freshman in 2019 under former head coach Joe Moorhead before winning the starting left tackle job in 2020, playing every snap there that season, under new head coach Mike Leach. As a redshirt sophomore, Cross received all-conference and some All-America mentions in a 12-start season. He opted out of the team's bowl game and declared early for the 2022 NFL draft following the season.

2. He earned the nickname "Sweet Feet."

Thanks to Cross' agility and footwork, which Schneider and Carroll said is the result of his basketball background, Cross earned the nickname "Sweet Feet" while at Mississippi State.

Cross said the nickname was given to him by one of the school's athletic trainers, and he's a fan of it.

"It's pretty cool," Cross said. "I think it's pretty cool."

3. He's the "ultimate competitor."

When describing Cross, Carroll and Schneider repeatedly referred to him as a competitor, which is a good thing seeing as Carroll has made competition the central theme of his program from Day 1.

And it isn't just Carroll and Schneider who see that trait in him. As former teammate Kobe Jones told the Mississippi Clarion Ledger, "Charles is the ultimate competitor."

That competitiveness, along with some impressive technical ability and athleticism, helped make Cross a Top 10 pick.

4. He's beloved in Starkville.

Not long after the Seahawks selected Cross, their twitter account asked Mississippi State fans about the left tackle, and well, just check out the responses:

Bulldogs offensive line coach Mason Miller weighed in with some very high praise for his former left tackle:

5. He's new to Seattle but has a friend to lean on in the Seahawks locker room.

While Cross is new to the Seahawks and had, prior to Friday, never been to Seattle, he has at least one familiar face he can turn to if he needs help easing the transition. Tackle Greg Eiland, who the Seahawks signed as an undrafted free agent last year, was teammates with Cross for two seasons at Mississippi State, and Cross said, "Me and big Greg, we're close."

Cross said Eiland has given him some advice on how to handle himself as a professional, and also told him good things about his new team: "He said it's a great organization. They want to see you at your best."

Take a look at offensive tackle Charles Cross throughout his college career at Mississippi State. Cross was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the 1st round, No. 9 overall, in the 2022 NFL Draft.

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