Seahawks keep No. 9 pick, select Mississippi State OT Charles Cross
The last time the Seahawks had a top-10 draft pick, they selected offensive tackle Russell Okung in 2010 with the sixth pick. They went down that road again in 2022, taking Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross with the ninth overall pick.
The Seahawks entered the 2022 NFL Draft with glaring holes at offensive tackle as 2021 starters Duane Brown and Brandon Shell are still free agents. Now, the Seahawks have a 21-year-old tackle coming to Seattle.
Cross stands 6-feet-5-inches tall and weighs roughly 310 pounds. He earned first-team All-SEC honors at Mississippi State in 2021, where he played for former WSU Cougars head coach Mike Leach.
“Two-year starter who plays with a high level of consistency from game to game, no matter the opponent,” NFL.com draft analyst Lance Zierlein wrote of Cross. “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.”
Cross is not just a tall offensive tackle, but he is long with 34.5-inch arms, per his NFL Scouting Combine measurements. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.95 seconds, which was 10th-best among offensive linemen and sixth-best among offensive tackles.
Cross declared for the 2022 NFL Draft after his redshirt-sophomore seasons as one of the youngest prospects in the draft.
While Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy, a former Seahawks scout, didn’t get to see Cross up close in Mobile this year, he had some good things to say about the young tackle during a pre-draft conversation with Seattle Sports 710 AM’s Jake and Stacy.
Cross played for an Air Raid system under Leach, which led to some questions about his overall strength. Nagy said his 2021 tape showed he was a much-improved player from 2021.
“He had concerns a little bit about play strength and anchor a year ago and then this year did a really nice job,” he said. “You watch him against Alabama or Michael Clemons, who is a big, long-armed defense end from Texas A&M who’s got a ton of power and (Cross) sat down on him pretty good.”
Cross was considered by many draft analysts as one of the top, if not the top, pass protector in this year’s draft. While it’s unclear who will be starting under center for the Seahawks in 2022, it is clear that they have an exciting young offensive tackle blocking in front of them.
The Seahawks do not currently hold another first-round pick this year, but they have two early second rounders which some think could be used to trade back up into the first round.