The New England Patriots have made their selection in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
After trading down from the No. 14 pick to the No. 17 pick in a deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Patriots took Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez.
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This is a tremendous pick for the Patriots for several reasons.
For starters, cornerback was a huge need for the Patriots defense. They have lost some really good cornerbacks in recent years, including Stephon Gilmore and J.C. Jackson. Cornerback is one of the most important positions and Gonzalez has star potential.
Gonzalez also was a consensus top 10 pick in many mock drafts and pre-draft rankings, so for the Patriots to get him at No. 17 is really good value. He tallied 35 solo tackles with four interceptions and seven passes defensed in 12 games for the Ducks last season.
New England Patriots
Our Patriots insider Phil Perry explained in a Next Pats Podcast episode earlier this month why Gonzalez would be a home run pick for the Patriots:
"This to me would be a home run selection. In a draft that is not necessarily chock full of blue-chip talent, Gonzalez is a blue-chip talent. ... All the athleticism you could ever want. Ran in the 4.3s at the combine, unbelievably smooth in his transitions. And we know just how much the Patriots value footwork at the cornerback spot especially. ... Height, weight, speed, would give the Patriots something they don't have. Quite frankly, it's something most teams in the NFL don't have when you're talking about this specific combination of length and movement skills."
The Patriots currently own two picks on Day 2 of the draft, and those selections are No. 46 overall (second round) and No. 76 overall (third round, via Carolina Panthers).
The second round begins Friday night at 7 p.m. ET.