Charles Cross had an encouraging rookie season for the Seattle Seahawks as the ninth overall pick in 2022; in a league where young offensive linemen often struggle to adjust early in their careers, Cross looked to be one of the rare players who was able to transition to the NFL with some fluidity. He had struggles, to be sure, but he appeared to have the necessary tools to be a long-term starter at Left Tackle. While he was a better pass blocker than a mauler in the run game, his skill set is a good match for the system.
Offensive linemen typically fly under the radar when it comes to recognition in the media, so it is great to see Cross getting some hype ahead of the regular season; Bill Barnwell of ESPN listed Cross in his prediction of “Breakout Players in 2023.” Here is the snippet about the former Mississippi State Bulldog:
The Seahawks feel good about the first year of outcomes from the Russell Wilson trade for a variety of reasons. One of the most immediate positive returns came with the first-round pick they netted from the Broncos last year. Cross stepped into the most obvious position of need on Seattle’s roster and looked like he belonged from Day 1. Playing every single snap as a rookie, he locked down quarterback Geno Smith’s blindside and helped form one of the more promising young duos in football with fellow rookie tackle Abraham Lucas.
Cross wasn’t perfect. Stats LLC credited him with six sacks allowed, and he committed seven penalties, including three holding calls. There’s still a lot to like here. Young left tackles Rashawn Slater and Jedrick Wills Jr. have set the bar impossibly high by excelling immediately as rookies in previous years, but Cross was well above the standard of the typical debuting left tackle. He should be even better with a year of reps under his belt.
Charles Cross was the only Seahawk to make the list. It is noteworthy, however, that Barnwell also mentions Abe Lucas, who similarly impressed as a rookie. Lucas could easily be on this list, as he could definitely take some big steps with another offseason under his belt. Then again, the better part of the entire Seahawks 2022 class could be on this list... Regardless, the bookend tackle positions appear to be locked down, and the team added some interior competition through the draft; somewhat surprisingly, the offensive line is looking like a potentially ascendant position group in 2023.