Although the Patriots sit at 0-2, tied for last place in the NFL after two weeks, there have been several bright spots among the mistakes that give this team hope both in the now and for years to come.
One of which is Christian Gonzalez.
The 17th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, the rookie cornerback has been sensational for New England’s defense and currently has the third most likely odds to win this season’s Defensive Rookie of the Year award according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Here’s a look at the list:
Odds to Win Defensive Rookie of the Year
Jalen Carter +300
Will Anderson +450
Christian Gonalez +1000
Lukas Van Ness +1500
Tyree Wilson +2000
Emmanuel Forbes +2000
Brian Branch +2000
In the Patriots’ week one opener against Philadelphia, Gonzalez was in coverage against both AJ Brown and Devonta Smith throughout the course of the night and was impressive. He showed off physicality against two high-profile wide receivers, finished second on the team in tackles with seven, and also came off the edge in the fourth quarter on a corner blitz for this highlight reel sack:
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) September 10, 2023
In week two we saw an even better Gonzo. While in coverage against speedsters Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, No. 6 allowed just two catches for 21 yards throughout the contest and tallied four tackles.
He also added to his aforementioned highlight reel, intercepting Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in the fourth quarter for his first career turnover:
— NFL (@NFL) September 18, 2023
Through two games, Gonzalez has notched 11 tackles, one sack, one interception, two pass breakups, and is ranked third in the entire NFL amongst cornerbacks with an 82.6 PFF grade.
The rookie has some work to make up with Jalen Carter (3 tackles, 1 sack, 90.2 PFF grade) and Will Anderson (6 tackles, 1 sack, 72.1 PFF grade) both ahead of him on FanDuel’s board – but with Garrett Wilson, CeeDee Lamb, Chris Olave, Davante Adams, and Stefon Diggs next up on the docket – he’ll certainly have his chances.
It’s sink or swim for Gonzo, as Bill Belichick loves to point out, and right now he looks like Phelps.