According to defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, the Indianapolis Colts want 2nd-year safety Nick Cross to essentially “think less and play faster” than he did as a rookie this past season—as he potentially regains starter’s duties at safety:
Gus Bradley said that Nick Cross was a young kid thinking too much early on last year and needed to sit and learn behind Rodney McLeod. They saw some more of the light go on late in the season.— Nate Atkins (@NateAtkins_) April 19, 2023
Cross has a chance to start with McLeod gone.
Gus Bradley on Nick Cross: "He's got the abiilty, he's fast, now it's about playing fast on the field."— Joel A. Erickson (@JoelAErickson) April 19, 2023
Says Cross wasn't playing fast at the beginning, which is why he fell down the depth chart.
Originally a 3rd round pick of the Colts last year, the 6’0”, 212 pound safety out of Maryland made two starts before being benched in favor of veteran safety Rodney McLeod, who played very well for Indianapolis in his lone season and remains a free agent.
Cross recorded 17 tackles (11 solo) and a fumble recovery, as well as played on 50% of the team’s special teams snaps during 16 games (2 starts) in 2022.
Turning 22 years old in September, and having shown flashes in last year’s training camp and preseason (and late in the year), Cross has the opportunity to assume a starting role at safety again—as hopefully the game will slow down for him a bit in his second season.
Having run a 4.34 forty time at last year’s NFL Combine, the Colts know Cross can play fast.
The Colts are counting on him to take a leap during his sophomore season at safety—where his speed and potential playmaking could really shine in the backend of their secondary.