The first round of the NFL draft started smoothly but unexpectedly, with several moves in the top ten and some surprising selections coming off the board early.
But then the Patriots were on the clock at 14. And what did they do?
Thankfully, it was only three spots back to pick 17, allowing the Steelers to get the offensive lineman they had their eye on in Broderick Jones. However, despite the ideal situation the Patriots were in, fans around New England all groaned in unison, seeing the typical Bill Belichick trade back happen after waiting nearly two hours just to hear what player they were going to take.
The number of teams ahead of them needing similar positional created some concern, but almost all of the best prospects for the Patriots remained on the board, making their trade back a bit easier to digest.
When it was finally time for the Patriots to pick, the speculation of who they would take became unbearable.
They were in a unique situation, given who was left on the board, with the best wide receiver and cornerback still there for the taking. Since they need players at both positions, it couldn’t have been a better scenario.
Then came the pick; the New England Patriots select Christian Gonzalez.
Patriots fans were unanimously and overwhelmingly pleased with the choice for one of the first times. Not only did they get a player of a critical positional need, but they somehow finessed the system and were still able to get the top-ranked cornerback of the 2023 class.
It is being referred to as the steal of the night since no reason can be found to explain how Gonzalez fell into New England’s lap.
He wasn’t projected to make it out of the top ten in practically every mock draft over the last few months. But in a strange case of fate, Gonzalez landed in the perfect spot.