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NFL Draft Rewind: No. 10 Christian Gonzalez

Christian Gonzalez
Christian Gonzalez (© Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK)

The NFL Draft kicks off with its opening round on April 27 in Kansas City, so Rivals is taking a look back at its projected first-round picks when they were high school prospects. We move on to our projected No. 10 – Oregon DB Christian Gonzalez, who was a four-star in the 2020 class.

Gonzalez is yet another alum of the Rivals Camp Series – making it seven of our top 10 NFL Draft projections that competed in and helped make their name at Rivals camps.

NFL DRAFT REWIND: No. 1 Bryce Young | No. 2 CJ Stroud | No. 3 Will Anderson | No. 4 Will Levis | No. 5 Tyree Wilson | No. 6 Jalen Carter | No. 7 Anthony Richardson | No. 8 Nolan Smith | No. 9 Peter Skoronski

Christian Gonzalez
Christian Gonzalez (Nick Lucero/


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NO. 10: DB Christian Gonzalez, Oregon

Where they were ranked: The four-star cornerback was outside the Rivals250, ranked No. 25 at the position and No. 37 in the Texas state rankings for the 2020 class. Elias Ricks, Kelee Ringo, Tony Grimes and Jaylon Jones were the five-star cornerbacks that cycle.

Recruitment: Gonzalez had a little bit of a whirlwind recruitment. He committed to Purdue (he is David Blough’s brother-in-law) despite the Boilermakers not making his top list earlier on. They won out over Ole Miss and Arizona State among others. But that pledge would only last about three months. After Gonzalez visited Colorado for its game against Stanford, he decided to flip to the Buffaloes. After playing in Boulder for two seasons and not having any interceptions, Gonzalez had four this past season for the Ducks.

Biggest question: There is no question at all about Gonzalez’s size and speed but the questions NFL decision-makers have are about anticipation, angles and instincts to challenge receivers when the ball is in the air.

Memories: I never ran into Gonzalez on the circuit and even though he was at a Rivals Camp Series event, I did not attend that one. But national recruiting analyst Nick Harris saw him previously and had a lot of thoughts about his game.

Gonzalez was “probably the most fluid DB I’ve ever seen,” Harris said as the four-star showed off natural athletic ability and playing the position.

Gonzalez looked like he belonged doing it. Sometimes, athletes want to play on the other side of the field but he was focused on playing DB and excelled at it as he comes from a family of track stars.

His recruitment never reached the status of national powerhouses because he didn’t play at a great program and didn’t get the exposure he so richly deserved. But he has excelled at Oregon and is now clearly in the top-10 discussion of the NFL Draft.

On his film from Oregon, Gonzalez is as natural as they come, turns and runs with receivers with ease, lives on an island and does a great job pressing receivers to the sideline to give them little room to operate. His length and athleticism make it tough for receivers to win against him when the ball is in the air. He can come up and hit, and also change direction quickly to make a play on the ball.

I wonder with more exposure on the national stage in high school, would Gonzalez have been much higher in the position rankings. He’s a lot more fluid and has more length than many corners ranked ahead of him.