Oregon corner Christian Gonzalez has first-round grade from ESPN
Oregon landed Christian Gonzalez from the transfer portal last offseason, and all the former Colorado cornerback did was turn into a big-play producer for the Ducks in 2022.
Gonzalez ranked third among Pac-12 defenders in interceptions and sixth in passes defended. He earned a top-five defensive grade among defensive backs from Pro Football Focus. At season’s end, he officially declared for the NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-2 defensive back from Texas is widely expected to be a first-round draft choice in this April’s draft.
ESPN’s Matt Miller recently broke down the players in the class who are worthy of a true first-round choice — defined by Miller as players who would be a first-round pick in each of the last five drafts — and he’s got Gonzalez among 20 players.
Here’s what he wrote on Gonzo:
A transfer from Colorado, Gonzalez found his footing at Oregon under first-year coach Dan Lanning, who was the architect of the 2021 Georgia defense. Gonzalez has great size at 6-2 and 200 pounds, and his speed and leaping ability are elite traits. He had a breakout season in 2022 with four interceptions and seven pass breakups.
Miller compared Gonzalez to Miami Dolphins corner Byron Jones. Jones has over 100 starts in his first seven years in the league, though he didn’t play this season because of offseason surgery.
This year’s NFL Scouting Combine takes place Feb. 27-March 6. The 2023 NFL Draft begins on April 27.