The 2023 NFL offseason is nearly here and that means it’s time for mock drafts, draft profiles and everything that goes with them. So without further ado, here’s one of many Draft Profiles for the 2023 NFL draft.
Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon
WT: 201 lbs
– Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference first team
– Phil Steele All-Pac-12 first team
– Associated Press All-Pac-12 second team
– PFF All-Pac-12 second team
– Phil Steele All-America fourth team
– Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week (×1)
– 2021 Coaches Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention
– Super speedy athletic corner – ran track as a senior where he recorded 21.6 seconds in the 200m at the Texas State Championships.
– Made Bruce Feldman’s Freaks List at #25 – he wrote “Gonzalez wowed the Ducks’ coaches this offseason with this athleticism, hitting 23.3 mph on the GPS, vertical-jumping 42 inches and power-cleaning 325 pounds.”
– Tracks the ball well downfield and shows good ball skills, including the ability to go up and high-point it in contested-catch situations.
– Very good instincts, especially in the box. Sound and solid tackler. Takes good angles in pursuit.
– Plays with the natural balance and ultra-quick feet to mirror underneath, and he’s tremendous at reading routes and reading quarterbacks.
– Has good cover skills, athleticism and big-play ability to be a lead cornerback if Gonzalez matures.
– He’s tall-framed with long arms to match. With his powerful hands, straight-line speed, and fluidity in his hips, turning and chasing downfield shouldn’t be a problem.
– Closing speed and willingness to make the big hit make him one of the more versatile safeties in the class.
– Has the change-of-direction ability to mirror underneath but did solid work out of press and off coverage.
– Has produced only a single year of elite play (2022 at Oregon), his previous two years were average. In 2021 receivers managed a combined 90 QB rating when covered by him
– More of natural man corner – not fluid in zone
– Not physical enough against bigger wideouts – Could do with adding a little weight to his frame
– Tends to play conservatively thinking his speed will bail him out and gives too much cushion when playing off
– Susceptible to double moves, though that could be coached out of him. But the problem is that Gonzalez doesn’t track the ball downfield, and he seems to lack the ball skills to break up plays.
– Not fully consistent on making the interception in front of receivers. Best lined well off the line of scrimmage due to a high, slightly stiff backpedal.
Christian Gonzalez has elite speed and quickness showcased by his almost Olympic track time. He’s got ideal size at 6-1 and 200 lbs and was outstanding following his transfer to Oregon in 2022 where he finally put up a season worthy of his athletic ability.
He however isn’t a perfect prospect – his technique is a little unpolished and he’ll need development at the next level, and could struggle against bigger receivers at the NFL level early in his career. Gonzalez has crazy upside and has the potential to be a lockdown corner, however, if he fails to develop he’ll be a fringe starter – despite this risk he’s a no brainer first-round pick, with some scouts give giving him top 15 looks in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Big Game Sports Buzz’ Pewter Perspective
Information in this article first appeared on NFL Draft Buzz and is used with permission. Find the latest coverage, analysis, and player rankings for the 2023 NFL Draft at nfldraftbuzz.com
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