The Indianapolis Colts have announced that 2022 third-round draft pick Nick Cross has signed his four-year rookie contract.
The safety out of Maryland was selected with the 96th-overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Colts saw their chance of getting Cross dwindling, so they made a trade up to get him, sending pick 5:179 and a 2023 third-round pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for 3:96.
After the draft, the Colts explained their rationale for trading up was that they would feel comfortable taking Cross in the second round next year, so surrendering their third-round pick wasn't an issue. They also have an extra conditional Day 2 pick in 2023 as a result of a separate trade.
Northeast area scout Mike Derice spoke about Cross after the draft:
Nick was one of those guys that had unique traits, right? So, he's 6'1", 215 pounds and has incredible range and ball skills, and was also physical at the point of contact. That's a hard combination to have at the safety position 'casue there's some guys that are great ball skills guys but not great tacklers, there's guys who are great tacklers but limited in coverage. Nick can do everything that we want at the back end. He can play free and strong interchangeably, so that's what makes him pretty special. He's 20 years old, almost 21, not a lot of football experience as a starter, I think one year and a half, but traits were off the charts and he's so intelligent as a football player. Student of the game, and that's what makes him really, really special.
The Colts didn't have an immediate need at safety as they already have starters in Julian Blackmon and Khari Willis as well as Rodney McLeod and Armani Watts for depth. However, both Blackmon and Willis have dealt with injuries, and Willis is a free agent following the 2022 season.
Simply put, Cross was too good to pass up for the Colts.
Earlier Friday, the Colts also announced that all their Day 3 picks — defensive tackle Eric Johnson II, tight end Drew Ogletree, defensive tackle Curtis Brooks, and defensive back Rodney Thomas II — signed their contracts as well. The team also announced its 22-man undrafted free agent list.
Second-round pick wide receiver Alec Pierce and third-rounders tight end Jelani Woods and offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann are the team's only unsigned picks remaining.
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