With the ninth pick overall, the Seattle Seahawks selected offensive tackle Charles Cross out of Mississippi State. Due to the departure of Duane Brown, who played in 969 offensive snaps for the Seahawks last season, the offensive line had a rather large hole at tackle. Excluding Cross, they only have three tackles listed on their current 2022 depth chart in Greg Eiland, Jake Curhan and Stone Forsythe. The trio only have 25 combined NFL appearances and 419 career offensive snaps at the NFL level. Additionally, only five of those appearances were starts, all of which came from Jake Curhan in the 2021 season, which was his rookie year.
According to Pro Football Focus, Curhan allowed 4 sacks which was tied for the 27th most allowed amongst tackles but ranked 76th in offensive snaps at 405. Is Charles Cross the ready-made replacement for Duane Brown or did the Seahawks just whiff on the pick?
Prospect: Charles Cross
Height 6 foot 5
- Cross can be too slow out of his shuffle which sees him overcompensate to his outside shoulder which leaves him open to being beaten to his inside. When blocking against moves to his outside he holds up for the most part, although he does have a tendency to be beaten by speed rushers who possess some bend. Against bull rushers he does a good job anchoring quickly. He possesses good body control and balance showing off some upper body bend whilst still maintaining the block. When being attacked to his inside shoulder Cross is extremely beatable. He has a soft inside shoulder which allows him to be beaten with power moves inside paired with a lack of explosion off his outside foot which allows him to just be beaten with a jab step out and then a speed move inside.
- Cross’s footwork has a tendency to get very sloppy when he is shuffling out of his stance. He can take multiple false steps as well as his feet getting very loud/choppy which causes him to have a very narrow base. This prevents him from getting much leverage as well as making it difficult for him to change directions quickly.
- His hand usage on passing plays is very good, he constantly adjusts them throughout the play with relative ease. He pairs that with an ability to consistently strike the defenders right in the chest. He does not have heavy hands as defenders do not get set back at the first point of contact.
- Cross’s elbows do have a tendency to bend out rather than staying tight to his sides which does cause him to lose some strength and leverage on the play. This will be taken advantage of with bull rushes from stronger edges at the next level and is something that needs to be corrected.
- His knee bend is relatively average and inconsistent; there are some plays where he does create good bend in his knees which allows him to maintain his play strength and stay lateral, although he does have other plays where he gets far too upright with the bend in his knees being around twenty degrees.
- Holds are going to be a major problem for Cross. He gets panicky at times when rushers attack his outside shoulder causing him to grab their shoulder pads. On inside rushes he tries to hook the rusher high which is going to result in holdings as well as some hands to the face. When the play breaks down Cross has a tendency to get grabbier, he will at times wrap his arms around the defender so they cannot get to the quarterback on their second effort.
- He does display high FBI in how he hands twists and stunts from defenders, displaying a very patient approach of the play in handing off one defender and waiting for his assignment to come.
- When tasked with sealing the edge for a wide zone or toss play, he does a great job of attacking the defenders outside shoulder preventing them from making any impact on the play. When Cross has to move up to the second level, he displays the necessary athleticism and speed to get to the backer or safety to make an impact on the play. Although he looks indecisive and caught in between two minds. He is not direct to any second level player, often taking a more rounded and slow approach to them rather than a straight line. When he contacts a player at the second level, he does not move them like a player of his size should. He often gets off balance because defenders are able to knock him off his spot rather quickly when he is moving forward. He struggles to sustain blocks at the second level when maintaining his balance and defenders often slip off of him within a second
- When Cross is blocking at the first level he can engage with the defender and maintain the block as long as it is straight on. If the play is a run away from Cross where he has to down or reach block, he does have the speed out of his stance to get across the face of the defender, although he lacks the strength to move them and he is often the player that is getting moved resulting in the play being blown up. Part of his struggles in the run game stem from his poor footwork which involves him taking multiple false or choppy steps similar to the passing game.
- He needs to get stronger in his lower half to allow him to maintain the reach block and drive the defender out of the gap to open up a cut back lane. As a cut blocker Cross is not precise enough in where he blocks either diving at the defender’s feet allowing them to avoid him or hitting them in the thighs without enough power to where they can brush him aside.
Cross is not a fit in Shane Waldron’s zone running game. In a zone running scheme it is crucial for all offensive lineman to be able to swipe defenders at the first level and progress up to the second level where they need to maintain their blocks. As discussed above this is not a skillset that Cross possesses, and it is difficult to ever envision him developing it to the point of where it can be a useful attribute for him.
Right now, Cross has the making of a fringe starting left tackle in the NFL. Cross’s mixture of strong hand usage, ability to seal the edge and his ability to anchor down against strong rushers gives him the ceiling of a low-end starter. Although his inability to block at the second level as well as his struggles in pass blocking to his inside shoulder give him the floor of a backup left tackle.