The New York Giants have done a stellar job creating confusion around their first-round draft picks this year. In the past, general manager Dave Gettleman would’ve given major hints away, giving the media far too much information and losing all leverage behind the scenes with trade negotiations.
However, there is plenty of smoke entering the atmosphere for Big Blue, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s all false. According to Matt Miller of ESPN, the Giants reportedly “love” Mississippi State offensive tackle, Charles Cross.
The Giants apparently “love” OT Charles Cross, per @nfldraftscout
They’ve done more work on him than any other team. Chances are they might be able to snag him at 7.
Considered the top pass protecting tackle in the class ?
— Alex Wilson (@AlexWilsonESM) April 15, 2022
Cross is an incredibly exciting prospect who is considered the best pass protector of any offensive tackle in this year’s draft class. In fact, all three of his highest-rated games came in 2021 against Vanderbilt, Tennessee State, and Memphis.
The stand-out OT earned his best overall grade at 86.7, according to PFF, who graded him at 64.4 in 2020. Cross enjoyed 919 snaps of action last season, including 719 pass-blocking snaps and 200 run-blocking snaps. He allowed two sacks and 14 hurries, but didn’t give up a single quarterback hit.
There are a few concerns regarding Cross, notably his lack of experience at right tackle and sometimes inconsistent footwork. With solid length and athleticism, Cross has the tangible traits to become a phenomenal tackle at the NFL level, and he graded out quite well with his position traits. His above-average combined metrics include the 40-yard dash (4.95), 20-yard shuttle (4.61), and broad jump (9’4″).
The primary issue for the Giants will be transitioning him to the right side, but OL coach Bobby Johnson worked him out with specific RT drills during his Pro Day. The consensus was that Cross performed extremely well at his Pro Day, and even showed the versatility the Giants wanted to see on the right side.
If the Giants want to utilize a pass-heavy scheme in 2022 and beyond, Cross is undoubtedly their guy. Utilizing him in a run-heavy scheme would likely be an inefficient way to get him started, but he has all the tools to develop nicely in most categories.
Cross has improved year after year during his three years with Mississippi State, which suggests he’s just realizing his true potential. His run blocking did improve significantly last season, but he has the raw traits to become a bookend right tackle for the Giants.
However, that is not to say the Giants won’t consider other tackles in the draft, especially with the 5th overall pick. Either Ikem Ekwonu or Evan Neal could fit the bill better, especially with the ladder having experience at right tackle already.