New England Patriots Select Oregon Cornerback Christian Gonzalez With No. 17 Overall Pick In 2023 NFL Draft
Eugene, Ore. — On Thursday night, the New England Patriots selected Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Gonzalez’s selection makes him just the fourth Oregon defensive back to be chosen in the first round, following in the footsteps of Alex Molden, Mario Clark, and Jim Smith.
Gonzalez is also the ninth defensive first-round pick in the program’s history and the second consecutive defensive first-round selection for the Ducks after Kayvon Thibodeaux went No. 5 overall in the 2022 draft.
Oregon now boasts a total of 21 first-round picks, including nine since 2013 and 12 since 2000, with four of the nine defensive first-round selections made since 2015.
Gonzalez’s selection marks the fourth time a Duck has been picked by the Patriots and the first since Patrick Chung in 2009.
During his lone season with the Ducks, Gonzalez started all 12 regular-season games and led the team with four interceptions, the third-most in the Pac-12. He recorded 50 total tackles and one tackle for loss. Notably, Gonzalez made two of his four interceptions in a road win against his former school, Colorado, and his 118 interception return yards on the season were the most by an Oregon player since Steve Smith in 2001.
In addition to his interception prowess, Gonzalez also tied for sixth in the Pac-12 with 11 passes defended and tied for ninth with seven passes broken up. His 81.2 overall defensive grade from Pro Football Focus was the best among all Ducks and fourth among Pac-12 cornerbacks, and his 81.4 coverage grade ranked fourth in the conference among cornerbacks.
The Oregon Ducks’ all-time first-round picks now include Christian Gonzalez, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Penei Sewell, Justin Herbert, DeForest Buckner, Marcus Mariota, Arik Armstead, Dion Jordan, Kyle Long, Jonathan Stewart, Haloti Ngata, Joey Harrington, Akili Smith, Alex Molden, Chris Miller, Mario Clark, Russ Francis, Ahmad Rashad, Tim Drougas, and Jim Smith.