Charles Cross NFL Draft 2022: Scouting Report for Mississippi State OT
HEIGHT: 6'4 3/4"
HAND: 10 3/4"
ARM: 34 1/2"
40-YARD DASH: 4.95
— Glides in his pass set with excellent range to get to his landmarks balanced and under control to frame up rushers.
— Plays with tremendous weight distribution and balance to consistently stay centered on defenders from snap to finish.
— Refined, potent hands to find the sweet spot on rushers to gain control of their frame while being nimble enough to reset and stay attached when needed.
— Alert on stunts to pass off penetrators and pick up loopers.
— Above-average play strength and uses his length well as a run-blocker to steer defenders off the spot with the placement to sustain at a high level.
— Has the athletic ability to track and fit on second- and third-level targets off combos and as a lead blocker in space, with the physicality to consistently finish.
— Can get broken down and opened up against rushers who use stutters to set up inside counters.
— Has gotten wide with his aiming points on the front side of outside zone to allow immediate post-snap movement to cross his face and get penetration.
— Doesn’t have a lot of reps as a run-blocker.
— The Air Raid system puts the OL in very wide splits, increasing the distance rushers have to travel to the quarterback and on stunts, providing the tackles with more space and time to get to their landmarks.
— 12 starts at left tackle.
— Former 5-star recruit and top prospect in the state of Mississippi.
— 22 career starts at left tackle.
— 2020 freshman All-SEC by the coaches.
— Will be 21 years old in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season.
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.
GRADE: 8.5 (Impact Player - 1st Round)
OVERALL RANK: 13
POSITION RANK: OT3
PRO COMPARISON: Ryan Clady