There were expectations that he’d have a shaky start right out of the gates given the murderer’s row list of elite receivers he’d be tasked with defending. To make matters worse, the Patriots have been dealt with multiple injury blows on the backend of the defense, which has immediately rushed Gonzalez to the top of the depth chart.
It was sink or swim in a pool full of sharks for the former Oregon standout. The only difference is Gonzalez isn’t just swimming. He’s living in the deep waters as one of the sharks.
#Patriots rookie CB Christian Gonzalez:
Brown – 19 routes, 4 catches, 47 yards
Smith – 11 routes, 2 catches, 22 yards, PBU
Hill – 17 routes, 0 catches on 2 targets, INT
Waddle – 4 routes, 1 catch, 15 yards
Garrett Wilson – 23 routes, 3 catches, 18 yards
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) September 25, 2023
These are Defensive Rookie of the Year type numbers if Gonzalez stays on the path. Miami Dolphins star receiver Hill talked up the Patriots’ rookie on a podcast last week.
“I was able to go against their rookie. He’s real good,” Hill said, when talking about Gonzalez on an episode of the “It Needed To Be Said” podcast, via the Vocal Podcast Network. “Very lengthy corner, had some real good technique and speed about him. So they’ve got some real good pieces over there in New England, man. So shout out to New England.”
Gonzalez already looks like one of the biggest steals of the 2023 NFL draft at No. 17. So far, he is everything the Patriots hoped he would be—and so much more.