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Chargers ‘build a fortress’ for Justin Herbert in latest mock draft

Cross would immediately give the Bolts one of the best, young tackle duos in the NFL.

Arkansas v Mississippi State Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

After landing a handful of impact players at several big positions of need in free agency, the Chargers seem to have their sights squarely locked on finding their next right tackle in this year’s draft. After adding notable names to the edge rusher, cornerback, and defensive tackle group, the writing simply seem to be on the wall at this point.

In Bucky Brooks’ latest mock draft at NFL.com, he has the Chargers landing Mississippi State’s Charles Cross, a prospect who has an actual case for being his position’s top player in the class.

“This is all about building a fortress around Justin Herbert to help him flourish as a passer,” says Brooks regarding Cross’ fit with the Chargers. “Cross is a natural pass protector with the balance, body control and hand skills to stymie pass rushers on the edges.”

The Redshirt sophomore stands at a prototypical 6’5 and 307 pounds. He more than checks the boxes for length as he recorded an arm length of 34 12 inches and a hand size of 10 34 inches while in Indianapolis for the combine. While there, he also sped to a 4.95 in the forty, one of the better marks for all offensive linemen.

While he was just a two-year starter for the Bulldogs, Cross is notably exceptional in pass protection. His ability to mirror pass rushers for extended periods of time speak to his phenomenal stamina and core strength (if you want an example, view the Twitter clip above). And when it comes to his punch and hand placement, you’re not going to find much better in this class. Cross’ ability to pick and choose where he starts his contact with defenders immediately sets the tone for their engagement. He carefully chooses his targets in a manner that maximizes his chances for winning the rep before it’s ever begun.

Of course I can’t forget about his ability in the run game. In Lance Zierlein’s draft profile, he says Cross “explodes” into run fits and runs his feet to “finish what he started.” He also notes that Cross has the coveted body control to latch on and stay connected to blocks out in space.

Selecting an offensive lineman in the first round in back-to-back drafts may seem like a bore to some fans, but that’s certainly not the case with this team. After years and years of serviceable players holding down jobs for the Chargers within such an important position group, a pair of young, elite tackles is just what the doctor ordered for this franchise.

In the comments below, let me know your thoughts and feelings regarding the Chargers’ potential selection of Cross in this year’s draft. Is it the right move? Is there a better player that could be available at #17? If so, let me know who!