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NFL Draft Profile: Christian Gonzalez

School: Oregon (2022), Colorado (2020-2021)

Position: CB

Year: Junior

The Good: Christian Gonzalez is a stunning athlete, almost like he’s the younger brother of an Olympian. (He is.) Gonzalez ran his 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at nearly 200lbs, and that wasn’t even the most impressive thing he did at the Combine: both his vertical jump and broad jump were in the 95-96th percentile. Gonzalez is such a dynamic athlete on the field and yet he is so smooth at the same time. It looks effortless for him to flip his hips, turn and run, and break on underneath passes. Gonzalez easily runs step-for-step with wideouts, and he is adept at using his hands without being grabby. On top of his ridiculous skill, Gonzalez is very instinctual and an above average tackler for a CB.

The Bad: Honestly, there isn’t a glaring flaw to Gonzalez’s game or profile – hence my grade on him. But if I had to identify areas where Gonzalez can get better, he’s currently better in man coverage than zone coverage because he tends to get stuck with his focus on route runners rather than his zone on the field. Still, Gonzalez has the smarts and the length (32” arms) to thrive in a zone-heavy scheme. I’d say that he has so/so ball skills because Gonzalez at times doesn’t track the ball into receivers’ hands, but he can also go up and get any ball over a WR and posted solid statistical production at Oregon (4 INTs in 2022). He’s an inconsistent run defender on the edge and doesn’t look as comfortable in the slot…but I’m definitely nitpicking now for a CB1 type.

The Bottom Line: Christian Gonzalez is an absolutely tremendous prospect. He checks all of the boxes: production, tools, age…he’s still 20 years old. Gonzalez isn’t exactly flying under the radar – he’s a consensus Top 10 pick in mock drafts now – but he is underrated because this is a true blue-chip prospect we’re talking about in a class where most people seem to think there are only 2 or 3 of them – not including Gonzalez. Last year, I ranked Sauce Gardner in the No. 2 spot on my Big Board, which – quick brag – was higher than just about anyone else who puts a board together. But I was still too low on Sauce; he should have been in my top spot, but I gave preference to an EDGE (Kayvon Thibodeaux) over the CB. I still would rank EDGE above CB in terms of positional value, especially with respect to longevity, but Sauce proved what an NFL-ready rookie CB can do right away. Now, Gonzalez wasn’t as dominant as Sauce in his final collegiate season; Sauce seriously could have won the Heisman. But don’t get it wrong…Gonzalez was freaking dominant at Oregon. He wasn’t targeted until the 3rd quarter against Georgia, then he shut down BYU to a laughable degree, and then he was barely tested from there on. Following a late TD in the Week 1 game vs Georgia, the literal only significant completion that I witnessed on Gonzalez was a simultaneous catch ruling that went against him in the Washington game. So, will Gonzalez also be an All-Pro as a rookie? Probably not, but he could – which speaks volumes – AND he’s also one of the most naturally athletic CB prospects ever. Unless your team is drafting a QB, you should want your team to draft Christian Gonzalez.

Grade: Top 5 Pick

Pro Comp: Stephon Gilmore

Games Watched:

  • Cal 2021
  • Georgia 2022
  • BYU 2022
  • Stanford 2022
  • UCLA 2022
  • Washington 2022

Plays That Matter [LINK]


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