The start of the NFL regular season is right around the corner, and Patriots rookie CB Christian Gonzalez is looking to make an immediate impact.
To get you ready for watching Gonzalez on the field, here are six facts to know about the Patriots highly-touted rookie.
1. Where is Christian Gonzalez from?
Christian Gonzalez was born in Carrollton, Texas. He attended high school at The Colony High School, which is about 15 minutes away from Carrollton.
Gonzalez was rated as a four-star prospect as a cornerback, but also showcased some skills on the offensive side of the ball as a wide receiver.
But, defense was his true calling, and Gonzalez ended up playing cornerback at the college level and now in the NFL.
2. Family of athletes
Gonzalez’s father, Hector, played college basketball at UTEP, and went on to play semiprofessionally in Colombia.
His two sisters, Melissa and Samantha, were two-time All-Americans in track and field at the University of Texas and the University of Miami, respectively.
Gonzalez also has a brother-in-law in the NFL, as Melissa is married to NFL QB David Blough.
3. Played at two Pac-12 colleges
Gonzalez initially committed to play college football at Purdue, but ended but signing to play at Colorado instead. He impressed the coaching staff early, and started every game as a freshman.
In two years with the Buffaloes, Gonzalez made 78 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, and 10 pass deflections.
After his sophomore year, Gonzalez transferred to Oregon where he was credited with 50 tackles, seven pass deflections, and four interceptions in 2022. For his efforts, Gonzalez was named first-team All-Pac-12.
4. Rare first round draft pick
Gonzalez was drafted by the Patriots No. 17 overall in the 1st round of the 2023 NFL Draft.
The pick was somewhat rare for New England, as Gonzalez became the first defensive back to be selected in the first round by the Patriots since Devin McCourty in 2010. McCourty was selected No. 27 overall.
The Patriots have a lot of faith in Gonzalez, and he is definitely a player to watch if you attend a Patriots game at Gillette Stadium this season.
5. Fourth Oregon Duck picked by Patriots
After taking Gonzalez in the first round of the draft, the Patriots have now selected four players from Oregon in the NFL Draft.
The previous three include Russ Francis in 1975 (1st round, 16th overall), Dino Philyaw in 1995 (6th round, 195th overall), and Patrick Chung in 2009 (2nd round, 34th overall).
It’s also worth noting that the Patriots signed undrafted free agent RB LeGarrette Blount out of Oregon in 2010.
6. Number 6
Gonzalez will wear No. 6 for the Patriots this season. He wore No. 50 throughout OTAs and minicamp, and wore No. 19 in preseason games.
The No. 6 previously belonged to New England kicker Nick Folk, who was with the team from 2019-2022.
Perhaps Gonzalez will earn the nickname “Pick 6” when he returns an interception for a touchdown while wearing No. 6. It just seems right.