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Christian Gonzalez 2023 NFL Draft Profile

Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez established himself as one of the NCAA's best defensive backs, and now he's declaring for the NFL Draft.
Christian Gonzalez NFL Draft

Christian Gonzalez NFL Draft Overview

Position: Cornerback
Height: 6′-1″
Weight: 197 pounds
School: Oregon

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2023 NFL Draft: Christian Gonzalez Scouting Report

After three dominant years at the collegiate level, cornerback Christian Gonzalez has decided to skip his final year of eligibility and declare for the 2023 NFL Draft. After spending his first two seasons with Colorado, Gonzalez transferred to Oregon to start the 2022 season. That change of scenery only brought out the best in the Texas native, as he finished his season allowing just 39 receptions on 64 targets for 495 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions.

Gonzalez began his career with Colorado. Signed as a four-star recruit, the cornerback started in all six games of the COVID-shortened 2020 season. During his limited time on the field, Gonzalez recorded 20 receptions on 36 targets for 239 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He followed this up by keeping that starting job in 2021, allowing 30 receptions on 55 targets for 320 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.


  • Built in a lab to play the position – nobody this big should move this smoothly;
  • Athletic ability allows him to seamlessly fit in both man and zone coverage;
  • Can line up out wide, in the slot, and against smaller tight ends;
  • Can match speedy receivers step for step;
  • Possesses elite recovery ability – never out of a play;
  • Doesn’t miss many tackles and isn’t afraid to play run defense.


  • Sometimes is too afraid to make a mistake and is late to plays;
  • Not a ballhawk – didn’t record an interception until his Junior year;
  • Could be more physical at the catch point – shouldn’t allow as many contested passes as he does;
  • Slow to process certain route combinations;
  • Late reactions to receivers hands when trailing.

NFL Comparison: Antonio Cromartie

Teams With Need At Position: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Indianapolis Colts, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers

Projection: Top-15 Pick

Bottom Line on Christian Gonzalez

Christian Gonzalez is a great player with the chance to become a top-five cornerback if everything breaks right. Gonzalez is blessed with physical gifts that you simply cannot teach, as a 6′-1″, 197-pound cornerback should not be able to move as well as he does. He can match the shiftiness of shorter receivers, the speed of faster receivers, and the size of bigger receivers. While he’s at his best in man coverage, Gonzalez’ incredibly quick acceleration allows him to break on the ball in zone coverage and break up passes before they reach their intended target. While he’s rarely beaten on his routes, he also possesses impressive recovery speed, so any window in coverage will not remain open for long.

These physical gifts ensure that Gonzalez will be able to start from Day 1 and play at a high level. However, there are a few mental aspects of his game that could be improved. The biggest issue is that Gonzalez doesn’t react as fast as you’d like. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not this is due to an inability to process what’s going on, or simply a fear of guessing wrong and giving up a big play. However, no matter what the cause is, it’s keeping Gonzalez from being a superstar.

Given his size and speed, Gonzalez should never be late to a throw when he’s playing in zone coverage. However, sometimes he doesn’t anticipate the ball, which leads to completions that could be broken up. Additionally, for a guy his size, he allows more contested passes than you’d expect. This is likely caused by his slow reaction time to the ball in the air. Fortunately, these are coachable flaws. If he improves his mental understanding of the game, he’ll be a perennial All-Pro. However, even if he doesn’t, his insane physical gifts and mostly-sound fundamentals ensure that he’ll be a reliable starter for the foreseeable future.

Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports


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