Mike Leach, OT Charles Cross’ college coach, details Seahawks’ top pick

Apr 28, 2022, 9:06 PM | Updated: Apr 29, 2022, 2:13 pm
Seahawks Charles Cross...
Offensive tackle Charles Cross of Mississippi State runs a drill during the NFL Combine on March 4. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

The Seahawks have their offensive tackle of the future in Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, who Seattle selected with the ninth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Huard on Seahawks Draft: OT Charles Cross a lot like Duane Brown

Charles enjoyed a standout career for the Bulldogs, which culminated in him earning first-team All-SEC honors in 2021 in his redshirt-sophomore season before entering the draft and being taken in the top 10. And the man who coached Cross during his two years starting for Mississippi State is Mike Leach, the former WSU Cougars head coach who moved out east ahead of the 2020 season.

Leach joined Brock Huard, Dave Wyman and Bob Stelton on Seattle Sports Station 710 AM’s draft show Thursday evening to give a quick scouting report on the Seahawks’ new big man.

“It was a heck of a deal. I was really proud for Charles and his family,” said Leach, was in Las Vegas for the draft with Cross.

Leach wasted no time hyping up what kind of player and person the Seahawks are getting with Cross.

“He’s one of the most steady guys I’ve ever coached, to the extent where his expression never changes. He never gets rattled and his own stability creates confidence with the rest of the offense,” Leach said.

Cross has 34.5 inch arms and stands nearly 6 foot 5 while weighing 310 pounds, but the things that stand out the most to Leach are that he has “great feet” and is extremely coachable.

“You only have to correct him once. And not only does he have great feet, there’s other people that may run faster than him but he has no wasted steps and he’s very fluid in everything he does,” he said.

Another aspect of being an NFL player, especially a high draft pick, is leadership. What kind of leader are the Seahawks getting with Cross?

“Vocally, he’s not a loud guy. He’s a quiet guy, but he leads by example,” he said.

And, Leach said, Cross leads by example every play.

“He’s a total buy-in guy and he leads by example,” he said. “And lead by example is probably the most important thing … With Charles, you get a guy that’s doing his job the right way every single time and then you can go back, watch film and a number of times say (to his teammates), ‘OK, you see how Charles does it? This is how we want it.'”

Leach is well known for running Air Raid offenses that result in lots of passing attempts and quicker passing plays, and Cross is known for being a standout pass protector. But can his skillset translate to the NFL level? Leach told Seattle Sports that the thought that Air Raid concepts prohibit guys like Cross from being ready to contribute at the NFL level is “outdated.”

“I think Air Raid helped Charles because (the Seahawks) know he can pass protect, and that’s the most important thing,” he said.

You can hear the full conversation with Leach in the podcast below or at this link starting about 20 minutes in.

Seahawks draft coverage continues on Seattle Sports Station and on the video stream at all weekend. For more details, click here.

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