The 3 most impressive defensive rookies through Patriots' OTAs and minicamp

Utah v Oregon
Utah v Oregon / Ali Gradischer/GettyImages
2 of 4

Christian Gonzalez - cornerback

This one should surprise no one, really.

The cornerback out of Oregon has had a lot of hype to live up to coming out of the draft, even more so for being the top-ranked player at the position and somehow falling into the Patriots' lap at pick 17.

Although we haven't seen a ton from him during the spring so far, his impressive performance and willingness to learn have had coaches and teammates speak highly of him, with most expressing their excitement for his potential.

The belief in his talent has shown, as Bill Belichick has put a heavy workload on him already during practices while also having him work with the first-team defense during drills. That may not come as significant news since Gonzalez was a first-round draft pick, but he was put on the field with last year's starters over other veterans on the team, like Jack Jones.

That seems to signal how good they know he can be.

If he can continue what he's shown on and off the field over the last several weeks, there's no doubt that not only will Gonzalez make the team, but he'll likely be a day-one starter on defense.