The 2023 NFL Draft kicked off on Thursday night and it did not take long to hear the name of an Oregon Football player. Gonzalez fell to 17th overall and was selected by the New England Patriots.
Christian Gonzalez started his collegiate career with the Colorado Buffaloes where he became an instant impact player at cornerback. He moved to Oregon following his freshman season at Colorado in 2021 and has been an impact player in his two seasons in Eugene.
On the field, he outmatched his former team on the road last season coming up with two interceptions on back-to-back drives in the third quarter. While not scoring a touchdown, he amassed 77 combined return yards helping set the Ducks up for a win. Gonzalez is among the younger players making their way to the National Football League. He will be 21 in June. He joins a team in New England that has had their struggles on defense over the last few years. Adding youth in a key position should help New England in a daunting division in 2023.
Last season, the Patriots struggled to keep up, but having a player like Gonzalez on the field could help bring them back to past success on that side of the field. With his size in 2023, he had 7 pass breakups with the Ducks and has the speed to keep up with high-powered offenses.
Gonzalez also helps continue an impressive trend of Ducks landing in the first round in the NFL Draft. He becomes the 22nd overall player taken in round one and continues a streak of four consecutive drafts going back to Justin Herbert in 2020 (Chargers), Penei Sewell in 2021 (Lions), and Kayvon Thibodeaux last year (Giants).
For Oregon Football, I expect several players will end up signing Undrafted Free Agent contracts with teams which is a common occurrence across the NFL landscape. The 2023 NFL Draft concludes on Saturday with the final four rounds.
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