BOULDER, CO - NOVEMBER 5: Defensive back Christian Gonzalez #0 of the Oregon Ducks intercepts a pass in the third quarter of a game against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on November 5, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado.

Will Christian Gonzalez hear his name be called by the Eagles on draft night? With James Bradberry a Free Agent, and Darius Slay going into the last year of his deal, there is little doubt that the Eagles have a massive need at Cornerback. It is a need you could say they have had going into the draft for the past several years.

But it never quite worked out for them to land one. It is hard to argue with who the Eagles picked instead. They got Devonta Smith and Landon Dickerson two years ago, and then Jordan Davis and Cam Jurgens last year. But it will be a disappointment if they come away without a Corner again. This draft is too deep at Cornerback for them to come away empty-handed yet again. And one CB Eagles fans should really keep their eyes on is Oregon’s Christian Gonzalez.  

The Oregon cornerback was not on many draft boards before the season. But his great play this past year has him flying up into the first round. But would he be a good fit in Philly? Should the Eagles be concerned by the history of Pac 12 cornerbacks in the NFL? Or is he so good he can buck that trend? Here are 5 things to know about potential Eagles prospect Christian Gonzalez.

  • Big, Fast, And Strong

    The first thing you will notice about Christain Gonzalez is how big he is for a corner. At 6ft2, 200lbs, he is one of the largest corners in this draft class. The next thing you will notice is how fast he is. Gonzalez is a former track star and has been clocked at speeds of 23.3 miles per hour while at Oregon. And the third thing you will notice is how strong he is. He can power clean up to 325 lbs. That strength shows up on the field with his tackling. Gonzalez missed just 3 of 61 tackling attempts this past fall. 

    There is a good reason he showed up on Bruce Feldman’s pre-season Freak List. He is big enough to match up with any physical WR and fast enough to match up with any speedy WR. His athletics and experience makes him scheme versatile too. Meaning he can fit right into the Eagles Zone Heavy scheme but could also be a match for a Man heavy scheme if the Eagles’ new Defensive Coordinator prefers to run man coverage.  

    “It’s very important to shoot for, corners period being able to tackle,” Martin said. “He has a knack for diagnosing plays that are happening behind the ball because of lot of those things, his tackles for losses weren’t always pressures, they weren’t always corner pressures. It was things were such where we were up defenders and he had the opportunity to pull the trigger and he did.” – Oregon DB Coach Demetrice Martin


  • From a Family of Athletes

    And when you look at his family tree, it is not too surprising he is as athletic as he is. His dad played Basketball at The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and then semiprofessionally in Columbia. His sisters were both All-American track athletes in college and compete on the international stage in track and Field for Columbia. You may even recognize his sister Melissa from a viral video. Her husband, David Blough, was a QB for the Lions, and this video of him and his teammates watching her win a 400m Olympic Qualifying match went slightly viral.  

  • Came On Strong Last Year

    Christain Gonzalez did not start his career at Oregon. He spent his first two seasons at Colorado, with mixed success. His rookie year QBs targeting him had a QB rating of 85.3. The following year he took a step back and QBs targeting him had a QB rating of 90.0. 

     But unlike many guys who transfer to get to a lesser school to get more playing time, Gonzalez followed his position coach to a bigger school. And his hard work started to pay off. In his one year at Oregon, he racked up 4 interceptions, 6 pass breakups, and a QB Rating when targeted of just 74.7.  He made the Pac 12 All-Second Team, and the Coaches All-Pac 12 First team. That great season is a big part of the reason we see him getting mocked as high as the top 10 picks now.

    It is a strong CB class, but there is no clear favorite this year like there was with Sauce Gardner last year. Gonzalez could be the first corner off the board, or he could be the 5th. But if you are in need of a CB, he is probably someone you want to take a look at.

  • Pac 12 Not Exactly a Farm for Good CBs

    The Pac-12 is also not a powerhouse when it comes to developing NFL Cornerbacks. If a corner comes from the SEC there is some precedence for their production carrying over to the NFL. But the Pac-12’s history is not quite as strong. There are some big names, like Richard Sherman, Adoree Jackson, and Desmond Trufant. So it is not like there is zero history of success. But look around the NFL, and many of the top Cornerbacks come from the SEC, or maybe the Big 10. The guys from the Pac-12, Big 12, and other conferences, who turn into elite defensive backs are far more rare. 

    Does that mean they should write Gonzalez off? No. Because he is a talented corner with traits that suggests he can compete at the NFL level. But as Eagles fans are well aware, drafting players from these lesser conferences does not always pan out. Think Sidney Jones, Andre Dillard, Jalen Reagor, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside. And since the Eagles started taking players from teams like Alabama and Georgia, the draft has gone much better for them.  

    Gonzalez is an intriguing prospect. And is a guy the Eagles should be interested in. It is just important to note that he was not competing with the best talent or the best teams in College Football. If you target a Cornerback from LSU or Georgia, you know at least once per year they are competing with Alabama WRs, who more often than not turn into NFL WRs. But if you take a Corner from Oregon, there is not always that sure NFL talent that they competed against in college. 

  • A Coach's Dream Player

    But he is not just big strong and fast. Though that does help. He is also the type of guy every coach wants on his team. There is a reason why his DB Coach at Colorado (Demetrice Martin) brought him to Oregon with him when he took a new job. Martin leaned on Gonzalez to be a leader. 

    “[Christian’s] able to be a big brother to the guys in the squad. It’s a good cop bad cop type of thing. He can be the good cop, and I can be the bad cop because he’s been with me for two years. He knows my moods; he knows how I teach, so he’s able to lead and incorporate that with the other guys.”- Oregon DB Coach Demetrice Martin

    And you can see what his other coaches say too. They all have similar praise for him. His High School coach Rudy Rangel noted how hard of a worker Gonzalez is.   

    “When that alarm goes off at five in the morning, what sets Christian Gonzalez apart from others, is that Christian gets up and gets it done, and some of the others don’t,”- Rudy Rangel

    Obviously, talent is the most important part when evaluating prospects. But it helps if a guy would also be a culture fit wherever he lands. Gonzalez appears to have a positive locker room on his teams. His teammates note that while he is not a rah-rah type of guy, he is a leader and someone they can lean on. Even if it is just following his example. The Eagles have done a good job over the years not just looking for talent, but finding great culture fits. And Gonzalez certainly fits that bill.


  • For more on the Eagles Draft Needs...

    The Eagles Off-Season Needs on Defense

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