Christian Gonzalez NFL Draft Scouting Report
Christian Gonzalez NFL Draft Introduction
Christian Gonzalez is a rising star in the 2023 NFL Draft. He has all the traits of an elite defensive back, starting with his exceptional speed and quickness.
Gonzalez ran track and posted a blistering 21.6 seconds in the 200m at the Texas State Championships during his senior year, earning him a spot on Bruce Feldman’s “Freaks List” at #25.
He also recorded a vertical jump of 42 inches and a power clean of 325 pounds, making his athleticism undeniable.
Colorado and Oregon CB Career
Gonzalez attended The Colony High School and was rated as a four star prospect by 247 Sports. He had a solid, yet unspectacular, two seasons with the Buffaloes at Colorado, before entering the transfer portal to Oregon where he truly flourished in his final year of college football.
In 2022, Gonzalez recorded 45 tackles, 13 assists, and 6 pass breakups, while giving up an impressive QB rating of just 74.7 when targeted.
Player Comparison: Patrick Surtain II
Christian Gonzalez forty yard dash: 4.32 seconds
Christian Gonzalez NFL Draft
Gonzalez boasts impressive physical attributes, including his tall and slender build, combined with superior athleticism. He offers a great combination of height and arm length, which makes him a formidable opponent for the opposition’s top receivers. Gonzalez excels in coverage and is able to secure his side of the field with ease.
He is a skilled man-to-man defender who showcases impressive footwork, agility, and nimbleness, which enables him to stay with receivers through their routes. Additionally, Gonzalez possesses the ability to turn his hips smoothly and run with speed, making him a true deep-threat defender.
In zone coverage, Gonzalez shines with his instincts and awareness. He is able to read the quarterback’s intentions and track moving targets in his area with ease. He moves fluidly in coverage and displays quick reflexes, allowing him to close in on any thrown ball in front of him.
With his long arms, Gonzalez is able to win the majority of one-on-one situations, and is an effective defender at the catch point.
Christian Gonzalez is a player that has a lot at stake during the draft process. It will be key for him to post extraordinary combine times, which he is definitely capable of. It’s not clear which of the corners will separate themselves from the rest of the pack (similar case at receiver), so the combine could solidify Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez from the rest of CB class. Many analysts have corners like Joey Porter Jr. possibly going before him in the middle of the first round, but we believe that Gonzalez will be the one who emerges as the clear top prospect after the combine.
Scouting Report: Strengths
Gonzalez’s ball skills, once considered a weakness, improved dramatically in 2022, when he set a career-high with four interceptions. He is a tenacious open-field tackler, who does not shy away from physicality and often seeks it out.
In addition to his impressive physical attributes, Gonzalez also has a natural ability to read routes and quarterbacks, making him a threat in both man and zone coverage. He has excellent instincts, particularly in the box, and is a solid tackler.
Gonzalez’s closing speed and willingness to make big hits make him a versatile secondary prospect and he has the change-of-direction skills to effectively mirror receivers. His movement skills allow him to cover all route combinations.
He’s a strong cover corner with ball production in his season at Oregon.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
However, as a slender corner, Gonzalez can struggle against larger, stronger receivers, who can overpower him through their routes. Adding strength to his frame will be key for Gonzalez at the next level. He should be able to bulk up a bit without sacrificing his athleticism.
At 6-1 and 200 lbs, Gonzalez has the ideal size and frame for an NFL cornerback, with long arms and powerful hands to match. Despite his obvious potential, Gonzalez still has room for improvement. He is a more natural man corner, but may need to improve his fluidity in zone coverage.
He also tends to play too conservatively, relying on his speed instead of being more physical. Furthermore, Gonzalez has a tendency to give too much cushion when playing off, making him susceptible to double moves.
Christian Gonzalez Draft Summary
Gonzalez possesses the ideal physical attributes for a corner, with his size, length, and athleticism. He complements these elite traits with sound instincts and well-honed techniques, making him a potential shutdown corner at the next level, with the potential to develop into a Pro Bowl player early in his career.
- Three year starter
- Improved ball skills with top tier speed and patient feet
- Excellent in zone coverage
Areas for Improvement
- Lack of strength to battle bigger receivers as lockdown corner in press coverage
- Physicality in tackling
- Lack of consistent man coverage as outside corner
Despite his single season of elite play at Oregon, Gonzalez’s potential is undeniable. However, there is a risk that his technique may not be polished enough for the NFL, and he could struggle against larger receivers early in his career. Nevertheless, his upside and physical tools are too great to ignore, and he is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, with some scouts even giving him top 10 looks.
We have him rated as out top cornerback on our big board, at 12th overall prospect. We think he could crack the top 10 with a likely landing spot to the Philadelphia Eagles at the 10th overall pick.