With Khari Willis now retired, Nick Cross finds himself with higher expectations during his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts.
On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts‘ safety Khari Willis announced his retirement from the NFL. At just 26 years old, his sudden retirement has stunned the organization. However, the Colts’ recent third-round pick, Nick Cross has many fans still hopeful that safety will be a position of strength.
Many people expected this season to be Khari Willis‘ last in a Colts uniform, with Nick Cross likely to be Khari’s replacement next year, but now he’ll be forced to take a larger role sooner than first expected. The real question is, is Cross ready for this role?
In twelve games last year with Maryland, Nick Cross had 66 total tackles, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles. It’s safe to say that Nick Cross was a turnover-forcing machine, making him a great fit for Indy’s defense.
Nick Cross also shows a lot of speed in his play. At the combine, Cross posted a 4.34 40 time. During his time at Maryland, he was able to show that he can be a real playmaker in the NFL.
Nick Cross will start for Colts
Nick Cross showed many strengths during his time in college. He has great sideline-to-sideline ability, he’s a sure tackler, and he has a knack for making plays.
That being said, he does have some weaknesses. Cross sometimes lacks instincts making him late to plays, and due to his stocky frame, he can have trouble staying with wideouts in coverage. There will also be a learning curve to the NFL level of play.
I still expect Cross to eventually excel at safety for the Colts, it just might take some time. However, Indy is lucky it traded up to get him, and now that he will be getting more playing time early, we could see him excel sooner than expected.
Ultimately, I still expect the Colts to be elite on defense, and that should help the rookie with learning to play at a high level.