DB Nick Cross, Maryland*

6’0”, 212, 4.34

Started eight games over his first two seasons before taking over the full-time starting role last year. Thickly-built free safety who played a lot of single-high and Cover-2. Plays with a relatively conservative temperament and adequate discipline on the back end, but can occasionally creep up a little bit, forcing him to rely on his speed to recover and get back in-phase; with only one full season of starting experience under his belt, instincts are still a work in progress. From an athletic standpoint, clearly possesses the speed/range to get out to the sidelines and provide help over the top. Processes and closes smoothly on underneath routes and can deliver thudding hits to jar balls loose or set the tone defensively. Has the athleticism to work in man coverage, getting his head around to locate and make plays on the ball; nice production last season. However, can get caught up in congestion when facing bunches, and might struggle against quicker receivers. Maintains outside positioning when playing down in the box to funnel ballcarriers back inside to help defenders. Not afraid to stick his nose in, bringing desired physicality to the game as a tackler. Has shorter arms, which can negatively impact his tackling and ball skills at times. Core special teams player at Maryland.

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