The Patriots' 2023 first-round pick, cornerback Christian Gonzalez, has played just three games in his NFL career - and yet he’s already drawing staunch comparisons from his head coach.
"Well, one of the best things about Christian, especially at that position, is he's very even-keeled,” Bill Belichick told WEEI’s The Greg Hill Show on Monday morning when asked about what gives the rookie the potential to be a special player. “He's not overly emotional one way or another. He's got a good, calm demeanor. A lot like [Stephon] Gilmore did."
the greg hill show: bill belichick joins following the patriots 15-10 win vs. jets
Stephon Gilmore, of course, played with New England from 2017-2020 after Belichick signed him to a five-year, $65 million contract - one of the richest in team history. During his tenure with the franchise, the 6-foot-0 corner was a two-time First-Team All-Pro, won the 2019 Defensive Player of the Year award, was named a member of the Patriots’ All-2010s and All-Dynasty team, and, of course, won Super Bowl LIII with the club.
Pretty good company for the rook.
Through three weeks, Gonzalez has been matched up against the likes of A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle. Most recently, during the Patriots’ win on Sunday, he shadowed second-year star Garrett Wilson throughout the majority of the contest. Outside of a 29-yard garbage time reception, Wilson caught just four passes for 19 yards on eight targets.
“He’s seen some very good receivers the first three weeks and we’re going to see another one this week with [CeeDee] Lamb," Belichick said when talking about the competition Gonzalez has faced throughout the first part of the season. "We’ve seen some good defensive lines and we’re going to see another one this week. Those positions, the defensive line and the receiver positions here, the first four weeks of the season are as good as anybody.”
While the tests have only just begun, the Patriots' new CB1 seemingly already has a spot on Belichick’s Dean’s List.
New England's head coach also spoke about their win versus the Jets, Matthew Slater’s message to the team this week, and more on Monday’s edition of The Greg Hill Show on WEEI. You can listen to the full interview here.