Patriots CB – Christian Gonzalez – 2023 Draft, Pick 17
April 27, 2023
Q: Just curious if you could detail for us as much as you can what kind of contact you had with the Patriots throughout the pre-draft process and what your level of surprise is that you ended up in New England.
CG: I'm just extremely blessed to be able to talk to them, be able to come in today and just enjoy it with my family. I'm just excited to get up there.
Q: How surprised were you that you were available at pick 17? I know from some of the pre-draft process and things that we see, it felt like you were the top cornerback on the board. So were you surprised to fall that far? What does it mean to play for a guy like Coach Belichick at the end of the day?
CG: I mean a little bit. But it all happens for a reason. God has a plan. So I am trusting his plan. I'm very excited to play under him. You can't really get a better coach than that. So I'm just excited to learn, go in there and just compete.
Q: Following up on maybe the plan that you just mentioned. I read that there was a point in your life where you almost stopped playing football. Would you mind, one, sharing that story and two, I guess especially on a day like today you're glad that you didn't stop.
CG: Definitely. I was in high school my sophomore year. I was put on JV as a backup just because the coaches there thought I wasn't strong enough in the weight room. They didn't think I lifted enough weights. Then I ended up transferring. I just pushed through, leaned on my family. Like you said, I'm very glad, very excited I did not make that decision because I would not be in this position I am today.
Q: I know at the combine you mentioned that you've watched rookie cornerbacks make an impact. What did watching someone like Sauce Gardner do for your confidence last season? What are your goals? What do you hope to achieve on defense this year?
CG: It means a lot to be able to watch somebody come in and just make an instant impact. I want to hopefully do the same thing. I just want to come in compete and learn. I said earlier, you can't learn from anything better. I'm really just excited for the opportunity to learn from the best.
Q: For folks who aren't familiar with your game, how would you describe yourself as a player?
CG: Just somebody that's versatile, fast, long, tall that can move around. Somebody that loves to learn. Just wants to learn all the nuances of the defense and how they all build together.
Q: When you spoke with the Patriots what was something that they wanted to know about you?
CG: Really just who I am as a player and a person. Just getting to know me and learning who I am, really.
Q: Do you have much of a relationship with Adrian Klemm? Obviously, he was with you at Oregon last year.
CG: Yeah, I definitely have a relationship with him. We would always talk at practice, mess around. But I'm excited to meet back up with him.
Q: I know you had a lot of people back in the green room with you that were very important to you along the way. Just in the course of tonight and after the selection what did you say to Coach [Ray] Buckley, Coach [Rudy] Rangel, to your family? What were you saying to those people tonight?
CG: Just thank you. Thanking them for always being there and being here today. They all helped me get here to where I am today. So just was extremely happy to share that moment with them. I can't wait to give the world back to them.
Q: Have you ever been to New England?
CG: I have, once.
Q: What do you remember about the visit? What do you know about it?
CG: It was great. Great atmosphere. The ball gets played up there. I'm really excited just to get up there.
Q: What was it that brought you here? Was it to visit the team or was it for something different than coming to visit the Patriots? Was it separate?
CG: It was a visit.
Q: Following up on what Mike Reiss just asked, have you heard about the lobster rolls and the clam chowder? Are you a seafood person?
CG: I love seafood.
Q: Would you be open to trying both?
CG: I'll stick to the lobster. I don't know about the clam chowder.
Q: Wanted to follow up with what you said to Andrew Callahan, the Patriots wanted to know who you are as a person. How would you describe yourself as a person? You've already described to us how you on the field, but who are you off the field?
CG: I'm just somebody that's extremely trustworthy. Somebody that's just loyal and keeps a pretty tight circle. Really all about ball. Ready to just learn. I just love to learn.
Q: It looked like your tackling and your ball skills seemed to take a jump last year at Oregon. How would you describe the process of improving those skills which are really important to the Patriots?
CG: It was just film study. Knew what I had to get better at and attacking it every day at practice. Really attacking it and knowing myself what I had to get better at, not having a coach tell me.
Q: Any extra work you did in practice, games, or certain things you would change with your preparation?
CG: It was multiple reps. Just getting more reps and a lot of film went into. Just learning from that point of view.
Q: What's your favorite way to watch film?
CG: I don't know, by myself. I like to watch with the team and the coaches. But then I learn a lot by myself as well.
Q: How aware are you of the Patriots history with their tough play cornerbacks whether it be Ty Law, Stephon Gilmore, Darrelle Revis. One, do you know about that? Two, have you looked up to any of those cornerbacks who have played for the Patriots?
CG: Definitely I know about it. Like I said, I'm just excited to be able to get in there and play. Having great cornerbacks come out of that system. But yeah definitely watched Stephon Gilmore. He's a great player. I want to follow in the footsteps of him.
Q: I just wanted to ask you about your suit. That seems like it took some planning, and you unveiled there on stage. Why did you wear it? Where did you get it? What does it mean to you?
CG: I wore it because I'm Colombian. My dad was born in Colombia. He moved to America to play basketball when he was 18. It took some planning, yeah. It means the world to me. To just be able to put it on for South America. They don't really play football over there. So having little kids know they can do what they want if they set their mind to it. So just want to be able to let them know they have somebody to look up to.
Q: The division that you landed in is pretty stacked quarterback and receiver wise. Aaron Rodgers just joined the division. Has that settled in what division you entered and the guys you'll be going up with quite a bit this year?
CG: It's kind of all just a whirlwind. Just taking it all in. Going to enjoy tonight with the family. But yeah I've definitely put some thought into it. But I'm excited for that competition.
Q: Any current members of the Patriots who you either looked up, studied, or just been a fan of?
CG: Currently, probably not. But just Stephon Gilmore was somebody I definitely watched.
Q: Has this been a dream of yours since you were a kid? Can you still believe it now that you were picked in the first round by the Patriots?
CG: Definitely it's been a dream since I was five, six years old when I started playing football. It's kind of surreal. It's hit, but I don't think it's truly hit. Maybe when I lay down in bed and just breath again. I'm very excited. I don't have a lot of other words. It's just so much excitement that the day finally came, and the phone rang.