2. Christian Gonzalez
One of the most fun parts of training camp is getting a first look at the rookie class, especially when it includes highly regarded draft picks.
And so far, first-rounder Christian Gonzalez is living up to the hype. The rookie cornerback has been a maniac on defense, breaking up several passes and nearly scoring a pick-six off Jones on Sunday.
That’s exactly what you want to see from a first-year player. He’s hungry, motivated and aggressive. He also trusts his skills and isn’t afraid of veterans.
Obviously, there’s a lot of pressure on Gonzalez to perform as the 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. There’s even more pressure on him as the replacement for team captain and franchise legend Devin McCourty, who retired during the offseason.
So far, Gonzalez is showing the talent that made him such a ball hawk at Oregon last year, when he finished with 7 pass breakups and 3 interceptions. He’s clearly capable of making a big impact at the NFL level right off the bat and ensuring that the backbone of New England’s defense remains strong.
With so many good quarterbacks in the AFC these days, we need guys like Gonzalez who can shut down the passing game and get them off the field. His penchant for big plays doesn’t hurt, either.