Oregon Coach Explains Why Patriots Are ‘Perfect Fit' for Christian Gonzalez

Oregon coach explains why Pats are 'perfect fit' for Christian Gonzalez originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

You never know how well a rookie's game will translate to the NFL, but all signs point toward Christian Gonzalez being a slam-dunk first-round pick for the New England Patriots.

The 20-year-old cornerback out of Oregon was selected 17th overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. The pick earned high grades from experts around the league who believe the Patriots perfectly addressed one of their top positions of need.

Although we won't know how well Gonzalez is fitting in until camp gets underway, his former coach at Oregon expects big things from the first-team All-Pac-12 selection. Dan Lanning joined our Phil Perry on the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast and shared his thoughts on the Patriots drafting his standout DB.

Next Pats Podcast: Oregon coach: Christian Gonzalez is so gifted he looks like a Madden creation | Listen & Follow | Watch on YouTube

"Perfect fit," Lanning said. "I think you're anxious because you're excited for Christian. You want him to get drafted. But when you talk about organizations that you can go play for, and getting to play for the Patriots and Coach Belichick, that's pretty unique.

"And recently, one of our coaches just joined the staff there for y'all, Adrian Klemm. So it's nice knowing that he has a familiar face up there with him that'll be looking out for him. So I think he's a perfect fit and I think it's a great setup for Christian."

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Lanning went on to rave about the type of player and person the Patriots are getting in Gonzalez.

"If you were building a player in Madden, you'd create them very similar to Christian. Especially for the corner position," Lanning said. "He's got length, he's got size, he's got speed. He carries that size very effortlessly and he can obviously run. So those are skills that you look for in a DB.

"He has great ball skills. I honestly believe he could play wideout if he needed to play wideout. He could be a returner as well if somebody needed that. We didn't ask him to do that, but we probably should have at times. But he has all the skill sets. So if you're designing a player, you design them in the mold of Christian.

"And then maybe more importantly in my mind is he has the mindset. The last play never affects the next play. He's able to hit the flush button really easily. And his demeanor, he is very calculated. Some people might take it as a lack of passion. That's not the case at all. The guy's extremely passionate, but he's very focused and he's able to play within the moment. So I think the Patriots are getting a really good one. I've had a lot of really good DBs and he ranks up there as high as any of them."

Also in the new episode: Lanning praises the type of football player Gonzalez is. What makes Gonzalez a “unique” DB? Can Gonzalez adapt to the Patriots’ man defense? And what to watch for at OTAs.

Check out the latest episode of the Next Pats Podcast on the NBC Sports Boston Podcast Network, or watch it on YouTube below:

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