Summary: Cross broke into the starting lineup in 2020 and was a good left tackle for the Bulldogs over the past two seasons. Playing in the SEC West, Cross saw a lot of excellent competition, and he enters the NFL with two good seasons of reps going against elite talent. Helped by his size and quickness, Cross has a superb skill set with upside for the NFL.
Cross really excels in pass protection, showing a special skill set to be a blind-side protector in the NFL. He has quick feet and the length to shut off the corner from speed rushers. Thanks to his smooth athleticism to go along with his speed, Cross is adept at playing the typewriter with his feet to cut off the edge. He also will use his quickness and agility to ride defenders around the pocket and open up the left side as an option for quarterbacks to slide laterally. Cross is able to adjust to inside moves, and with his quick reaction skills, he moves to cut off inside lanes. There is no doubt that Cross is very good at mirroring speed rushers coming off the edge. He has more issues with physical defensive ends, but he does have the size in his base to anchor.
As a run blocker, Cross gets the better of defenders by routinely beating them to spots. He fires off the ball and uses his quickness to get to his landmarks to set up rushing lanes. With his speed and athleticism, Cross is excellent at bolting to the second level and is skilled in space to hit blocks on defenders at the second level. Cross has the size and mass to tie up defenders by turning and manipulating, but he is not an overpowering road grader as a run blocker. He blocks hard through the whistle, and while he looks to finish defenders with violence, he could stand to add more strength.
Team sources say Cross has starting left tackle potential for the NFL. They really like his feet and athleticism, but think he needs some developmental time to get stronger and bigger for taking on pro defensive linemen. Cross looks like a future first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Ronnie Stanley. Cross reminds me of Stanley coming out of Notre Dame. Stanley was a great athlete with quickness who could stand to get stronger for the NFL. He has turned into a very good pro, and Cross could follow a similar path.