However, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick told The 33rd Team‘s Mike Tannenbaum that it’s business as usual for Gonzalez as it is for any rookie. The Patriots drafted Gonzalez out of Oregon with the No. 17 pick in April.
“Bring them in and let them learn how to be a professional football player and a New England Patriot,” Belichick told Tannenbaum on Wednesday, June 21. “That encompasses a lot of things, how to study, how to train, how to prepare, how to learn the terminology and communicate with your teammates and so forth.”
ESPN lists Gonzalez as a starter at right corner on the Patriots depth chart. Belichick sees versatility in how his defense can utilize Gonzalez.
“We’ll work him into a number of positions like we do almost all players at this point in time in the spring, and then narrow it down a little bit when we get to training camp,” Belichick said. “Ultimately, he’s most likely going to be a perimeter corner, but I think there are other situations where he could play inside or in a deeper part of the field, depending on what the call is or how things present themselves from a game-plan structure from time-to-time.”
Gonzalez made an impact in his lone season with the Ducks in 2022 with four interceptions, seven pass deflections, and 35 tackles. He previously played two seasons at Colorado where he had tallied 78 tackles and 10 pass deflections in 18 games.
Bill Belichick Explains Trade Down for Christian Gonzalez
New England notably traded down in the draft before landing Gonzalez. The Patriots originally had the No. 14 pick before a swap with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which gave the Patriots a fourth round pick.
“When we go into the draft, we don’t really target one guy especially when you’re drafting at whatever point and need isn’t as big of a criteria as good football players,” Belichick told The 33rd Team. “If you’ve got a good football player, nobody’s ever going to regret that.”
“I’m glad Gonzo was there and but I think when you just go and look for one guy and then he’s not there, there’s other players in the draft that can help us as well, but he’s been great to work with and look forward to getting him ready to go for training camp,” Belichick added.
Bill Belichick Backs Christian Gonzalez Pick With History Lesson
Belichick can back his draft decision with history as he cited an example from his days as an assistant with the New York Giants in the 1980s.
“I learned that at the Giants in  when we took Carl Banks,” Belichick told Tannenbaum. “We had [Lawrence] Taylor obviously, and it was kind of like, ‘Why are we taking another outside linebacker?’ As it turned out, that was probably one of the better picks that we had at the Giants.”
Banks became an All-Pro and a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Giants.