With the 17th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots have selected former (and forever) Colorado Buffaloes cornerback Christian Gonzalez.
Technically an Oregon product, Gonzalez should be celebrated as a Buff. Maybe he wouldn’t have had the chance to shine as much on a moribund CU defense, but he was the best or second best player on the team in 2020 and 2021. He may have stayed if Karl Dorrell realized he needed to recruit his own players with the updated transfer rules, or if the CU administration was able to keep DBs coach Demetrice Martin from joining the Oregon staff.
If we consider Gonzalez a CU product, he’s the highest drafted Buff since Nate Solder also went No. 17 in 2011. With track star speed in a 6’2 frame, Gonzalez is a potential star who can shut down an entire side of the field with his man-coverage ability and ball skills. Buffs fans also saw his ability to turn interceptions into touchdowns, however, not until the Ducks visited Boulder this past season.
Now on the Patriots, Gonzalez will likely immediately step into a starting role and will likely thrive under Belichick’s tutelage. New England clearly knew who they wanted and were able to pick up some draft capitol by trading down three spots with the Pittsburgh Steelers.