Pats Round1 Pick #17: CB Christian "The Steal" Gonzalez

SeoulSoxFan

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BB does it again. Trades back to gain a 4th and get a top CB prospect that no one thought would fall to #17.

YEEEESSSS!!!
 

SeoulSoxFan

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A good write up on our newest CB:

https://www.foxsports.com/stories/nfl/2023-nfl-draft-cornerback-rankings-christian-gonzalez-the-best-of-a-talented-group

A consensus top-10 player overall in this class. Can't believe he fell.

Gonzalez’s path to the first round of the NFL draft began in the talent-rich state of Texas, where then-Colorado head coach Mel Tucker convinced him to head north. Gonzalez remained committed to the Buffaloes when Tucker himself went further north to Michigan State, starting all 18 games of the 2020-21 seasons and earning Honorable Mention All-PAC-12 honors as a sophomore with 53 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and five passes broken up.

When the defensive backs coach who worked with him in Colorado — Demetrice Martin — opted to take the same job under Dan Henning at Oregon, Gonzalez decided to follow his mentor this time, joining the Ducks for the 2022 season before giving up his final eligibility to enter the 2023 NFL draft. Gonzalez starred in his only season in Eugene, earning First Team All-PAC-12 honors with a career-high 11 passes broken up and four interceptions while also logging 50 tackles and blocking a field goal.

Strengths: Gonzalez is a graceful, bounding athlete who actually plays to his timed measureables, springing out of his backpedal and effortlessly changing direction to shadow receivers in man coverage. He is among the smoothest athletes at any position in this class and Gonzalez is made even faster by his route anticipation, with some reps on tape where it looks like he is running the route in tandem with the receiver. Perhaps most exciting are the improved ballskills shown by Gonzalez this year, turning four of his 11 passes defensed this season — both career-highs — into interceptions. He showed vision and a playmaking mentality with the ball in his hand, averaging 29.5 yards after his interceptions. In a class full of rail-thin perimeter players, Gonzalez checks in with a solidly built frame with his 14 repetitions of 225 pounds an excellent mark for a player with 32" arms. Henning, who is used to elite athletes, raves about Gonzalez’s talent.

Concerns: While perhaps imposing, Gonzalez isn’t a terribly physical player and he will need to show greater awareness and commitment in run support in the NFL. Further, while the improvements made as an interceptor in 2022 are encouraging, Gonzalez had previously struggled turning PBUs into turnovers, with just four in 20 opportunities over his college career.

Bottom Line: Gonzalez deserves every bit of hype of a top-10 pick. He boasts an exceptional combination of size, athleticism and intangibles, ranking among the safest prospects in this class.
 

Scoops Bolling

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The fact that not one but two RBs went over this kid is just insanity. The secondary is shaping up to be a real strength with this kid added to the talent already in place, and the Pats now have plenty of ammo to move up in the 2nd or even the late 1st (a la grabbing Barmore). Love it, love it, love it. Draft is off to the best start in a while.
 

Harry Hooper

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FWIW, Fitzie on WEEI wanted the Pats to move up and grab Gonzalez at 10 or 11.
 

NickEsasky

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FWIW, Fitzie on WEEI wanted the Pats to move up and grab Gonzalez at 10 or 11.
Oh shit Fitzie wanted him???

edit: I actually like the pick just funny any one would care who Fitzie wants
 

67YAZ

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So Klemm clearly got to see Gonzalez for a full season, has some direct knowledge of the kid’s make up and work ethic.

Gonzalez was recruited and played at Colorado under DBs cos h Demetrice Martin. Martin had coached under some quality head coaches - Mora, Sarkasian, Mel Tucker, now Lanning. Three of those guys have also worked under Saban, so Gonzalez must have experienced some of that coaching style.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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So Klemm clearly got to see Gonzalez for a full season, has some direct knowledge of the kid’s make up and work ethic.

Gonzalez was recruited and played at Colorado under DBs cos h Demetrice Martin. Martin had coached under some quality head coaches - Mora, Sarkasian, Mel Tucker, now Lanning. Three of those guys have also worked under Saban, so Gonzalez must have experienced some of that coaching style.
That's great info. Thanks @67YAZ!
 

JM3

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I was watching a TikTok on him this morning. His mom & sisters are track athletes & his dad was a pro basketball player in Europe.

Hard to find many flaws in the player/plan.
 

j44thor

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Crazy he isn't even old enough to drink tonight to celebrate. Bodes well for him continuing to improve. Compare that to someone like Hendon Hooker who is already 25.
 

SMU_Sox

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Gonzalez was 7th overall on Arif Hasan's consensus big board. CB1. He was 7th overall and CB1 on Lance Zierlein's NFL big board. This is incredible guys.
 

Mystic Merlin

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So why did he slip? I know I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth….
I think the board largely fell right in terms of other teams’ priorities. Three QB, several OL, edge rushers, etc. And TWO RB in the top 15?

Throw in Seattle preferring Witherspoon, presumably because Pete wants the more physical player, and there you have it.

I have no explanation for Washington’s pick.

EDIT - Woops, that would be THREE, not four, QB.
 

Justthetippett

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I think the board largely fell right in terms of other teams’ priorities. Four QB, several OL, edge rushers, etc. And TWO RB in the top 15?

Throw on Seattle preferring Witherspoon, presumably because Pete wants the more physical player, and there you have it.
I think it'll be famously 3QBs.
 

JM3

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Of course, this seems like an lol Mike Tomlin thing...

When visiting the facility, Mike Tomlin inquired about why the breakout junior transferred to Oregon after beginning his career with Colorado. Gonzalez explained that he was simply following his position coach to his new school. Tomlin was hoping to hear him say something along the lines of facing better competition but was left underwhelmed by Gonzalez's answer.
Colorado played the toughest schedule in CFB last year & plays in the same conference as Oregon who had the #34 schedule.

http://powerrankingsguru.com/college-football/strength-of-schedule.php
 

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SMU_Sox

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So why did he slip? I know I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth….
I have some real concerns about him. Originally when I wrote my superlatives article he was the twelfth guy. I revised it to eleven. (and then forgot to remove all the references to twelve perfect picks - thanks again Super Nomario!) I knocked him down to a 4.5. Why? Well he can have issues at the catch point. He needs to develop better route awareness and anticipation to be able to stay in-phase. He needs to trigger and react faster in zone. He can get grabby on in-breakers when he doesn't anticipate the break well enough. The catch point stuff was cleaned up somewhat as the season went on. TBH I am not sure why he fell. He shouldn't have. Maybe Detroit felt like he had some Okudah vibes?

In zone he has some issues with when to trigger downhill vs when to keep getting back in his zone. All of this stuff is fixable. He's young. And you never know if he had some medical issue or he had bad interviews.

It's hard to say why he dropped for sure but he isn't as polished as Surtain. I could point to a few more things in zone that he needs to work on that I will try and do with video clips later next week or the week after (full disclosure I have to travel next week for my sister's wedding so not sure if I will get to it). And yeah, stuff at the catchpoint vs UGA wasn't great but, again, he improved as the season went on.

This is a home-run swing for a pick and a true potential game-changer. A+. You're getting a premium position (not the most premium but still premium) and a consensus top guy way later AND get a 4th rounder to help you trade up for Jonathan Mingo tomorrow or Tyler Steen ;)
 

Marciano490

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I was watching on the yahoo app (not sure what broadcast it was but my boy Collinsworth was on it), and they said he never had a passer rating against lower than 70ish and that he was quite unfinished but the most talented at the position
 

Brand Name

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Holy FUCK yes. #5 on my board. Cee Bee One.

Love his length, and ability to run in man coverage. Insane acceleration but doesn't overdo it in turns and footwork, where he's natural. Almost never flagged as much. Great wingspan at 77.25" at his pro day (76 7/8 combine). When he picks it off, it goes a long way, at almost 30 yards/pick return. Even does special teams, with a blocked punt last season. Real BB coach's guy. Durable too, only game he missed was by choice, opting out of the bowl game last year. Not the best run defender or strength in finishing tackling--that's not to say he's a bad tackler. He's VERY good there and improved from his Colorado days to Oregon last year. Will need some zone polishing in zone. But like...so many traits that are top tier. Some of those are innate like his measurements, but he's the guy that's the football equal to that it's not just size, it's what you do with it. But he's got both for your pleasure.

What an absolutely incredible start. And they traded back to get him. God.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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"Coach's guy" is the phrase I love to read about CG. Sounds like he'll get better as he gets coached up. When's training camp again?
 

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rodderick

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Couldn't love this pick more, was my "pie in the sky" scenario for months now. The league over thought this kid to death. Have a feeling the "Forbes-Gonzalez" sequence will be viewed similarly to "Reagor-Jefferson".
 

Ralphwiggum

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I am not a draft guy at all, but love the excitement over this guy. The only thing I have to add is, the Patriots drafted a player born the same year as my oldest daughter. Jesus Christ I am old.
 

rodderick

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Has Bill ever whiffed on a pick that went chalk with consensus such as this one? I can recall Wilfork, Ty Warren Dont'a Hightower, Chandler Jones, Nate Solder and Jerod Mayo as guys that received this kind of reaction and all of them were good players. I guess we at SoSH were pretty excited when Malcolm Brown fell to us and he was a nothing player.