You don’t have to tell Oregon coach Dan Lanning there’s something special about Christian Gonzalez.
He watched the Colorado transfer scale to the top of the depth chart for the Ducks and quickly become one of the best defensive backs in the country, before ultimately being taken at No. 17 overall by the New England Patriots at the 2023 NFL draft.
When asked about the fit for Gonzalez with the Patriots, Lanning called his former defensive star the ideal “Madden” video game creation in overall look and abilities on the field.
“If you were building a player in Madden, you’d create them very similar to Christian, especially at the corner position,” said Lanning, when speaking with NBC Sports’ Phil Perry on “The Next Pats Podcast”. “He’s got length, he’s got size, he’s got speed. He carries that size very effortlessly, and he can obviously run. So those are skill sets you look for in a DB. He has great ball skills.”
Patriots fans are chomping at the bit to get another look at Gonzalez in action after the first video clip was released of him on the practice field a week ago.
As with any rookie, Gonzalez will have to grow into his role with the team at the next level. So all of the excitement should still come with tempered expectations. But it also isn’t a stretch to think he could make a major impact for the Patriots right out of the gates.
Like Gonzalez did at Oregon, he is clearly capable of scaling the depth chart in New England and beginning his journey towards becoming one of the best young corners in the NFL.