New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez earned league-wide recognition for his outstanding first month in the NFL.
The first-round draft pick out of Oregon was named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month for September. With 16 tackles, one sack, one interception, and three passes defensed through three weeks, he becomes the fifth Patriots player to earn a Rookie of the Month honor.
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His teammate, four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Matthew Judon, learned the news during his press conference on Thursday. Asked to share his first impressions of Gonzalez, Judon had jokes before heaping praise on the 21-year-old.
"He's trash," Judon quipped. "Nah, just the skill and the poise that he plays with at cornerback for a young player is kind of unseen. You see it in the greats. You kind of seen it when Jalen Ramsey came out and he just, whoever he was in front of, he just stayed in front of and he covered any match.
"He has a lot of potential and a lot of skill. We're just trying to tap into all his talents and everything he can do. I think he can be a matchup guy in this league. He can travel and follow whoever he wants to. But he got a long way. He got a long way and it's just one of the many accolades, personal accolades, that he's gonna get for himself."
Gonzalez has already excelled against some of the league's top wide receivers. He helped keep the Philadelphia Eagles tandem of A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith in check during the season opener, limited the Miami Dolphins duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Week 2, and shut down New York Jets star Garrett Wilson in Week 3.
He'll be tested again this Sunday against two-time Pro Bowl wideout CeeDee Lamb and the Dallas Cowboys. Kickoff for the Week 4 showdown is set for 4:25 p.m. ET at AT&T Stadium.