It looks like the New England Patriots chose wisely with the No. 17 pick in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Patriots selected Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez, and he has been one of the team's best players through the first three games of his pro career.
Gonzalez did well limiting elite Philadelphia Eagles wideout A.J. Brown in Week 1. He did a nice job in Week 2 against the Dolphins and held Tyreek Hill -- a top-three wide receiver in football -- to just 32 yards when matched up on him. He also tallied his first career interception last week.
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Gonzalez's best performance came in Week 3 against the New York Jets when he shut down Garrett Wilson, who tallied just two receptions for five yards when matched up against the Patriots rookie. It was the first game this season that Wilson (five catches for 48 yards on nine targets) didn't score a touchdown.
So far, so good for the University of Oregon product.
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Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked about Gonzalez during his weekly appearance on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show", and he compared the rookie's demeanor to that of a great Patriots cornerback.
"Well, one of the best things about Christian, especially at that position, is he's very even-keeled,” Bill Belichick said Monday morning. “He's not overly emotional one way or another. He's got a good, calm demeanor. A lot like (Stephon) Gilmore did."
Gilmore played for the Patriots from 2017 until he was traded during the 2021 season, and during that time he ranked among the league's top cornerbacks, while also winning a Super Bowl in 2018 and earning Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2019.
Nearly ever week will be a challenge for Gonzalez because pretty much every opponent on the Patriots' schedule has at least one top-tier wide receiver.
Next up for the Patriots is a Week 4 road game against the Dallas Cowboys. We probably will see Gonzalez matched up on Cowboys wideout CeeDee Lamb quite a bit. Lamb has 19 receptions for 273 yards in three games, and he set career highs with 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns last season.
Gonzalez looks like he's more than ready for the challenge, though. And the Patriots will need him to continue playing at an elite level because with the way their offense is struggling to score points, the defense will need to carry the team and keep games competitive.