Falcons Draft Profile Christian Gonzalez: strengths, weaknesses, highlights, prediction
Strengths and weaknesses
Let's start with what I like about Gonzalez. While he doesn't have a great wingspan, he has height, which is a strong attribute to have at the position.
Gonzalez is a superb CB when it comes to making plays on the football. He routinely puts himself in a position to make a play on the football by boxing out the receiver. He can read the levels of routes that are put in place to confuse him. Sometimes, it seems like he has eyes in the back of his head. There was one play in particular where his defense was defending the endzone and Christian initially ran to cover a flat route as the quarterback was drifting to the same side and with zero hesitation, Christian turned around and ran to cover a receiver who was wide open in the back of the endzone—I don't know how he knew the receiver was there. Maybe it was a lucky guess but the confidence and lack of hesitation say it was on purpose.
When Oregon went up against Georgia, Stetson Bennett and the UGA offense would not look Gonzalez's way. Late in the game, they threw his way but for the majority of the game, they were willing to look elsewhere. Part of that has to do with Georgia's reliance on their tight ends, but when Bennett is routinely looking in the opposite direction, it shows the respect they had for this prospect.
The main weakness I saw was his tackling. You would assume that he would be a solid tackler but I routinely watched him avoid tackling at all costs. He is late when it comes to reading running plays, he will make half-hearted dives at the ball carrier even though he would be much more effective if he kept his feet on the ground, and sometimes his version of tackling is just standing in the way. He isn't a proactive tackler.
The other concern I saw was his occasional laziness when waiting at the stem of the receiver's route. He would look like a statue, allowing the receiver to win no matter which way they break. His feet just lock up which sets up the receiver for easy success.
All in all, he is a natural and intelligent ballhawk who will make plays on defense, but he needs a little tune-up when it comes to tackling, or else he will be a liability on the boundary. As for his combine inconsistencies, they don't show up on the field, he looks like a natural cornerback in coverage.