With the No. 14 pick in the 2022 SB Nation Community Mock Draft, Baltimore Beatdown selects Charles Cross, offensive tackle, Mississippi State.
At No. 14, the options fell between Cross, interior defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt and Jordan Davis. Many were hoping to land defensive end Travon Walker, but the Houston Texans nabbed the edge-rusher at No. 13.
Taking an offensive tackle at No. 14—after the Ravens signed offensive tackle Morgan Moses and talked-up Ju’Waun James with Ronnie Stanley on the roster sounds wrong. However, the Ravens have aired out cautious optimism regarding Stanley’s status after his second season-ending ankle surgery which didn’t heal or rehabilitate properly in 2021. Let’s split this into two scenarios.
Worst Case: Cross Becomes a Starting Tackle Immediately
If Stanley struggles or if there’s a setback, the Ravens will immediately have multiple contingency plans available for use. The trio of Cross, James and Moses combine for two starters, with Cross manning the left or right side. He could even fill in at left guard, pairing with James or Moses to have a massive size pairing between the two. This works in the Ravens favor in comparison to last year, which saw an out-of-prime Alejandro Villanueva struggle for 16 games against the likes of T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett.
Best Case: Stanley’s Back, Cross At Left Guard
“But Kyle, you’re burning the No. 14 overall pick on a left guard.”
No, you’re spending it on a hopeful franchise tackle. The Ravens had the best tackle pair in the NFL three seasons ago with Stanley and Orlando Brown Jr., and it was a key component to their 14-2 season and Jackson’s League MVP. But after the Brown forced his way out of Baltimore, the Ravens have needed to rebuild their offensive line.
Cross would begin NFL work at guard, where the transition to the professional league is less difficult. Then, he works toward manning the right tackle spot.
The health of Jackson is pertinent, and a big-time blocker helps improve both the run game and the passing attack. Jackson will have more time in the pocket, and the run game can gash for more yards. It’s not the pretty pick, but it will sure make Jackson and the offense happy.