The New England Patriots have made their first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. Following their previous trade down from the No. 14th overall pick, they have now selected Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez at No. 17.
One of the top cornerback prospects in this year’s draft, Gonzalez, was a surprise slider in the first round. Originally projected as a lock to come off the board in the top 10, he inexplicably kept falling — allowing the Patriots to pick him up even following their trade-down with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Gonzalez was the top player on the Pats Pulpit Patriots Big Board:
1. CB Christian Gonzalez (Oregon): Gonzalez should be an easy top-10 selection in this draft, making him a home-run selection if he somehow fell into New England’s range. He’s a tall, long corner who is also a strong athlete that helps him blanket receivers outside. Gonzalez has all the traits and upside to be a premiere cornerback in the NFL.
At 6-foot-1, 197 pounds and with outstanding athletic traits, Gonzalez is well-suited for the Patriots’ defensive scheme. He projects as a Day 1 starter on the outside, allowing the team to address one of its biggest pre-draft needs.