Nick Cross is about to make the 574-mile journey from College Park to Indianapolis to begin his NFL career. The safety was drafted in the third round, 96th overall, by the Indianapolis Colts on Friday night.
Cross is a DMV favorite, as the former Terrapin grew up in Maryland and attended DeMatha before playing three years under Mike Locksley. As a Terp, Cross accumulated 134 tackles, four sacks and five interceptions over 27 total games.
Cross quickly stood out as a member of the Maryland secondary, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten Conference honors each of his three years as a Terp. He’ll now join a stacked Colts defensive unit headlined by All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard.
“Indy is cleaning up right now. They’re getting athlete after athlete after athlete,” said ESPN Draft analyst Louis Riddick. “This is a four-star recruit coming out of high school, and I can just tell you this: he has visibility, he has range, and he’s got ball skills. But he only began playing football as a freshman in high school…Athletically, nothing he can’t do. Loving this pick in the third round, he could be a steal.”
Some analysts were surprised Cross lasted as long as he did in the draft, as his play in the Big Ten over the past three years set him apart as a dynamic, hard-hitting safety. Per PFF Draft, Cross ranked second among Maryland safeties with an 81.4 career coverage grade.
“He can do it all,” Riddick said. “He can come down and will smack you in the run game…he can play in the short zones, he can play the deep middle of the field and range is all over the place.”
Cross begins his NFL career on a team that has ambitions for a postseason appearance. Indianapolis was one game short of making the playoffs last year after a Week 18 collapse in Jacksonville.