The New England Patriots traded down in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft and still selected a consensus top 10 player in the class.
Cornerback was a huge need for the Patriots in this draft, and they upgraded at the position in a major way by taking Oregon star Christian Gonzalez with the No. 17 pick Thursday night.
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Gonzalez tallied 35 solo tackles, four interceptions and seven passes defensed in 12 games for the Ducks last season. He has great speed, good coverage skills and excellent size (6-foot-2, 200 pounds).
The AFC East division is full of elite wide receivers, so it was important for the Patriots to find a potential lockdown cornerback in this draft. Gonzalez has all of the physical tools needed to be that kind of player.
The early analysis and reaction to this Patriots pick has been overwhelmingly positive. In fact, it's hard to remember a time when pretty much every draft expert was in agreement that the Patriots hit a home run with their first-round selection.
With that said, here's a roundup of early first-round draft grades for New England.
New England Patriots
Pats Pulpit: A+