Grading the Colts’ draft selection of S Nick Cross

The Indianapolis Colts pulled off a second big trade on Day 2 of the 2022 NFL draft and gave up some significant capital to move back into the third round Friday night.

Trading away a third-round selection in 2023, as well as a fifth-round pick this year (No. 179 overall) for the No. 96 overall selection.

With that No. 96 pick, the Colts finally added to the defense with a selection of safety Nick Cross out of Maryland. This is clearly a player that the Colts organization is high on, feeling that they had to make a significant move up the board to not let him slip through their fingers.

Cross is very much a fit in the kind of mold the Colts have been adding to the second in new defensive coordinator Gus Bradley’s scheme. Cross is very much a physical and attacking defensive back, with the attitude and strength to come up and lay the big hit.

At Maryland for the past three seasons, Cross accrued 134 total tackles, 10 passes deflected, 4 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 5 interceptions (with a team lead tying three coming in 2021).

Cross also adds solid speed with a very physical mentality which is what this defense as a whole prides itself on in swarming to the ball. He has the prototypical NFL build with a muscular frame capable of defending against the bigger-bodied tight ends in the league (like recent Colts’ draft pick Jelani Woods) and helping to prevent the big plays in the passing game that sunk the Colts in 2021 .

Cross comes into a safety room with question marks at a starting spot with Julian Blackmon suffering a torn Achilles last season. The addition of Cross gives the Colts more rotational options for depth snaps, and Cross should be able to contribute on special teams with his 4.34 40 time speed.

Grade: B+

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Colts select S Nick Cross at No. 96: Instant analysis

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