The New England Patriots have not won a regular season NFL award since Stephon Gilmore won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019. In 2023, the Patriots have a real shot at winning an award due to the talent increase on the team.
The Patriots player that is most likely to win an NFL award this season is rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez. My prediction is that Gonzalez will win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award.
Gonzalez was the third cornerback taken in the 2023 NFL Draft, but some scouts had him ranked as the number one cornerback on their board. At Oregon, Gonzalez showed many traits that will make him an elite cornerback in the NFL. Last season, Gonzalez had 50 tackles, four interceptions, and seven pass deflections. Gonzalez also played with a swagger that will translate to the pro level.
I think Gonzalez has a great chance to win the Defensive Rookie of the Year award because he is going to be the Patriot's number one cornerback. Gonzalez is going to be matched up with the opposing team's best receiver every game, and I think he will be ready for the challenge. I expect Gonzalez to have a season similar to Sauce Gardner, who won the award this past season. Gonzalez has all the tools at his disposal to be a top corner in the league right away.
Patriots fans should be excited to watch Gonzalez play this season because he has a swagger similar to past legendary cornerbacks in the organization’s long history. The swagger and confidence that Gonzalez plays with remind me of Stephon Gilmore, Aqib Talib, and Asante Samuel.
Christian Gonzalez will have a chance to make a statement in Week 1 when he matches up with Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.