Vikings Draft Thermometer: CB Christian Gonzalez
Welcome to the Vikings Draft Thermometer series, PurplePTSD‘s one-stop shop for all your 2023 NFL Draft needs. Throughout this series, we will be examining a number of prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, what exactly their role could be at the NFL level, and most importantly, whether or not they could end up playing their first NFL snaps in a Vikings uniform. With that, let’s take a look at today’s prospect: Oregon CB Christian Gonzalez.
- Height: 6’2″
- Weight: 200 pounds
- School: Oregon
- Games Watched: Georgia (2022), BYU (2022), UCLA (2022)
- 2020: 25 tackles, 5 pass defenses (6 games)
- 2021: 53 tackles, 5 TFLs, 5 pass defenses (12 games)
- 2022: 50 tackles, 1 TFL, 7 pass defenses, 4 INTs (12 games)
Christian Gonzalez was always a solid prospect, but during his two years at Colorado, he never jumped off the page all that much as a defender. However, this season, he transferred to Oregon where he blossomed into a star in the PAC-12. He showcased terrific coverage instincts and some outstanding ball skills, intercepting 4 passes which ranked third in the conference.
This emergence piled on top of what he already has physically. At 6’2, he has terrific size and length at his disposal, and even if he gets beat off the line of scrimmage, he has the acceleration to make up the distance with his receiver. Finally, Gonzalez played a good chunk of his snaps in zone coverage at Oregon, and he proved to be a terrific open-field tackler.
Gonzalez does have outstanding length at the CB position, similarly to Kelee Ringo, but he is also a much leaner CB prospect than the Georgia product. Because of this, he can get pushed around by sturdier receivers.
As aforementioned, he is liable for playing a little too conservatively as well and can be susceptible to falling for fake moves. This is an area that will need to continue being developed as he gets into the NFL.
- Draft Round: Early-Mid First
- Immediate Role: Starting outside corner
- Best-Cast Scenario: Marshon Lattimore
- Vikings Draft Temperature: 30
Overall, the 2023 Draft class doesn’t have an immediate superstar such as Sauce Gardner, but Christian Gonzalez is one of the best coverage players in this draft class. That will likely take him off the board earlier in the first round, and he could very well be the first CB taken, thus landing somewhere in the top 10. Ultimately, that likely takes the Vikings out of the running to select him, but if he did somehow fall all the way to No. 23, Minnesota should jump at the chance to select the Oregon product.
Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.