State to Sunday 2022: Bulldogs gearing up for NFL Draft

Charles Cross is predicted to be a high first round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft

Charles Cross, along with his family and head football coach Mike Leach, were present in Las Vegas, NV, when his name was called by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell this past Thursday night.

The former five-star prospect out of Laurel, MS, was drafted ninth overall by the Seattle Seahawks in this year's NFL draft.

Cross became the highest drafted offensive lineman from Mississippi State University and the school's highest draft pick overall since running back Michael Haddix was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles all the way back in 1983 with the eighth overall pick.

Cross was recruited under Joe Moorhead but became the starter when Mike Leach took the helm as head coach. 

The offensive lineman made a major impact on the Bulldogs football team, allowing only 16 pressures on 719 pass-blocking snaps and two quarterback sacks on 919.

In addition to his performance, Cross was named a first team All-American and earned the Kent Hull Trophy for being the best offensive lineman in the state of Mississippi.

Leach was very pleased to see his player drafted into the top ten, but he also highlighted the impact Cross had both on and off the football field.

"He's a total buy-in guy, and he leads by example, and lead by example is probably the most important thing," Leach said to Seattle Sports Station after the first round of the draft. "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 becomes one of two active head coaches to have at least one player drafted in the first round at three different schools.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll also spoke very highly of Cross during the draft.

"He is a really, really good athlete with an attitude of wanting to do something special," Carroll told NFL Network on Monday. "We loved the whole makeup and we were very fortunate enough to get him. Thanks to Mike Leach and the Air Raid. Those guys throw the heck out of the football."

The addition of Cross fills a void for the Seahawks that traded franchise quarterback Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos this offseason and offensive tackle Duane Brown's future with the franchise stuck in limbo.

"It was very exciting to hear my named called," Cross said in his introductory press conference with the team. "I'm very glad they took a chance on me just being part of this organization. It's a blessing. I'm just excited come in and compete and get ready to work."

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