It took only two seasons for Charles Cross to establish himself as one of the top offensive linemen available in the 2022 NFL Draft. The recipient of the Kent Hull Trophy, which goes to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi, Cross is far from a finished product but he definitely looks the part of a left tackle, which is why he's not expected to last long when the first round kicks off on April 28.
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Charles Cross Draft Profile
College: Mississippi State
With all the prototypical left tackle traits teams look for, Cross spent a redshirt season in Starkville bulking up but didn’t sacrifice any of his movement skills. He’s a long-bodied, nimble mover capable of mirroring quickness in pass protection, and he showed improved, precise hand usage in his second season as a starter, effectively warding off pass rushers. In the run game, he’s competitive and aggressive as a finisher, moving with balance into space and showing the willingness to finish plays by burying smaller opponents.
The most pressing question is whether or not Cross will be able to hold up against grown-man strength in the NFL. That goes for handling speed-to-power pass rushers and as a run blocker, where he wasn’t asked to do much in the way of traditional work while playing in Mike Leach’s Air Raid.
There’s a sense that, as a late bloomer who played only two seasons, Cross is just scratching the surface of his immense potential. There’s some risk in a two-year starter who maybe hasn’t quite checked the box for functional strength, and he’ll appeal to finesse offenses at a time when power-run games are coming back into style, but there aren’t many tackle prospects who move like he does.