August 13, 2022

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ASK IRA: Do Warmth have to achieve one other stage in Atlanta?

Michael Cross remembers it prefer it was yesterday. He remembers his son and Maryland soccer security Nick Cross sitting in entrance of the tv as a baby, watching Washington’s NFL staff play on Sundays.

Michael recollects the enjoyment on his son’s face as he watched former Washington security Sean Taylor torment opponents and the tears that streamed from Cross’s eyes every time they misplaced.

As Cross is days away from the 2022 NFL draft, Michael is full of nothing however pleasure and happiness, figuring out his son’s desires of enjoying professionally are near actuality.

“It’s proper in entrance of him,” Michael stated. “He’s fulfilling his dream.”

Michael stated Cross’ resolution to both enter the draft or return to Maryland for his senior season was a tough one. He stated Cross loved the school surroundings and believed he had extra to perform. However, after speaking to brokers, Cross realized it was greatest to play professionally.

“The chance is right here now to grab the second,” Michael stated. “It was getting a number of discussions, a number of agonizing with him, particularly, [and] the household, simply attempting to ensure that the fitting resolution was being made.”

Since declaring for the draft, Cross has saved an even-keeled strategy. Even after impressing on the NFL scouting mix by operating the 40-yard sprint in 4.34 seconds, the quickest amongst safeties, he has saved the identical calm and humble angle he displayed whereas at Maryland.

“Hundreds of thousands of youngsters have a dream of going to the NFL, however solely a choose few individuals get the chance to play within the NFL,” Cross stated throughout Maryland’s professional day. “I’m grateful and blessed to be a kind of few.”

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Cross, a three-time All-Massive Ten honorable point out choice, performed in 29 video games for the Terps, totaling 134 tackles and 5 interceptions. Final season, Cross completed second on the staff in tackles (66), together with 3 1/2 for loss, whereas including three sacks, 4 move breakups and three takeaways. His inventory has been on the rise ever since.

Maryland coach Mike Locksley believes Cross is a singular prospect due to his means to play totally different elements of the sector. In accordance with Professional Soccer Focus, Cross performed 281 snaps as a field security, 420 at free security, 53 as a slot nook and 24 out broad.

“He’s a mix man that [can] play within the center third of the sector, but in addition come down and be a bodily presence within the field,” Locksley stated. “I believe that’s what NFL groups which can be evaluating him are enthusiastic about.”

One other trait that Cross has benefited from is that he’s nonetheless comparatively new to the sport. He wasn’t allowed to play soccer till he went to DeMatha, however that by no means stopped him from learning Taylor and former Ravens security Ed Reed’s highlights on YouTube.

At DeMatha, Cross performed three totally different positions, beginning as a defensive lineman earlier than transitioning to linebacker and eventually security. Maryland operating backs coach Elijah Brooks, who coached the Bowie resident in highschool, stated Cross’ dedication to mastering every place he performed stood out greater than something.

“His dedication to study the talent set in order that he may be productive goes to take him a good distance,” Brooks stated.

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NFL Community and draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes Cross can develop right into a starter within the league. He stated Cross is fluid on his ft and an efficient tackler and blitzer. Intuition-wise, Jeremiah feels Cross is “a depend late” in comparison with different safeties within the draft.

Jeremiah predicts Cross shall be taken within the third spherical, however wouldn’t be shocked if he will get drafted within the second.

“The athleticism to have the ability to man cowl is big proper now at that place,” Jeremiah stated. “I believe he’s going to be a great participant.”

ESPN and The Athletic have projected Cross going within the third spherical, whereas CBS Sports activities has the Cincinnati Bengals drafting him within the second spherical with the 63rd general decide of their newest mock draft.

Regardless that Cross grew up a Washington fan, he’s keen to play for any staff that enables him to dwell out his lifelong dream.

“Any staff that offers me the chance, I shall be eternally grateful,” Cross stated.

Locksley stated he had conversations with a number of NFL normal managers, telling them that Cross has simply scratched the floor.

“I believe you’ll proceed to see him develop the subsequent few years, the place he has an opportunity to have a big-time profession within the NFL,” Locksley stated.