49ers NFL Draft target No. 3: S Nick Cross (Maryland)
Nick Cross is a do-it-all defensive back who has the versatility to line up all over the defensive backfield. Cross is an average-sized defensive back who plays extremely fast and is one of the most secure tacklers at the position in this year’s class.
Cross finished his 2021 campaign with 66 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, three interceptions, two passes broken up and two forced fumbles. He clearly has no issue blitzing and can also cover from the slot cornerback position. Having a player like Cross will always keep the offense guessing because he can come off the edge at any moment.
Watching this kid play reminds you of the old-school hard-hitting safeties of the NFL’s past with the way he attacks ball carriers. This leads to him getting caught on play-action plays because of his over-aggressiveness to the run, though.
What makes Cross stand out above the rest is the 100-percent effort he gives on every play. He relies heavily on his athletic ability to make plays, which oftentimes leaves him looking suspect in coverage.
Cross thrives in an environment where he can attack the run aggressively and occasionally be used in one-on-one coverage.