Ravens select high-upside offensive tackle in early 2022 NFL Mock Draft
The Baltimore Ravens and the rest of the NFL world are still a long way away from the 2022 NFL Draft. But who doesn’t love talking about the NFL Draft in July? Especially when there’s nothing else going on.
Cam Mellor of Pro Football Network recently released a way-too-early mock for next April’s draft. The order was based on current Super Bowl odds meaning that the Ravens were scheduled to pick 29th with just the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers behind them.
And with the 29th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Mellor had the Ravens taking Mississippi State offensive tackle Charles Cross.
It shouldn’t come as a major surprise that the Ravens would address the offensive tackle position and Cross is as good a prospect as any to slot to them at this spot.
What would the Ravens be getting in Charles Cross?
Of course, there are far too many variables to accurately predict when specific players will be picked still some nine months out from the draft.
But Cross has a chance to solidify himself as a first-round prospect if he picks up where he left off last season.
The fifth-best offensive tackle in his class coming out of high school, Cross drew comparisons to Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle D.J. Humphries with scouts citing his quickness and physicality.
Cross was used sparingly during his freshman season and he ended up redshirting after playing in only a few contests. While the athletic traits were clearly there, Cross showed up to campus at a slim 6-foot-5, 270 pounds and needed to bulk up more.
He did just that getting his weight up and over 3000 pounds en route to a standout year in his first season as a starter. It was enough to earn him Freshman All-SEC honors and he could be set for an even more impressive 2021 campaign.
Mellor had to say the following about his decision to mock Cross to the Ravens.
"“The Ravens are thin at tackle. Ronnie Stanley returns from a leg injury, and Alejandro Villanueva enters the lineup on a two-year contract with a team opt-out after Year 1. Charles Cross has the tools needed to develop into a top-tier tackle in the NFL as well as the size.What he’ll have to work on, however, is maintaining protection on extended plays that naturally come in the NFL. He won’t necessarily have access to play extension with the Mike Leach Air Raid offense at Mississippi State. He’s a disruptive blocker in space and could become a force in the NFL with some growth in true pass sets.”"
Mellor brings up a fair point in that the Ravens don’t have a long-term solution at right tackle on the roster. Alejandro Villanueva is more of a stop-gap than anything and unless Tyre Phillips can develop into a starter, it doesn’t appear as though Baltimore is set for the future at right tackle.
The Ravens did sign Ja’Wuan James in June and the veteran tackle is expected to return next season. But he’ll be coming off yet another major injury and turns 30 before the season starts.
If the Ravens are serious about the future of their offensive line, Cross is a player they could target. Definitely someone to keep an eye on as the months go on.