Patriots rookie Christian Gonzalez draws high praise from Ty Law: ‘We got us a cornerback’


“When he gets anointed, we might have to put 24 on him.”

New England Patriots cornerback Christian Gonzalez (6) intercepts the ball against Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill (10) in the fourth quarter. The New England Patriots hosted the Miami Dolphins in an NFL game on Sept. 17 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.
Christian Gonzalez has played 100 percent of defensive snaps so far with the Patriots. Matthew J. Lee / The Boston Globe

Christian Gonzalez has only played two games in the NFL ranks.

But the Patriots’ 2023 first-round pick sure looks like he belongs as a featured cog in New England’s defense.

The 21-year-old corner hasn’t been eased into his rookie campaign. Along with playing 100 percent of New England’s defensive snaps this season as an outside corner, Gonzalez has primarily matched up against some of the top wideouts in the league in Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown and Miami’s Tyreek Hill.

Despite those daunting assignments, Gonzalez is currently ranked third in the NFL among cornerbacks with a PFF grade of 82.6. 

After recording seven tackles and a sack against the Eagles in Week 1, Gonzalez allowed just two catches for 21 yards against Hill and Jaylen Waddle in Week 2, while also snagging his first interception off a deep throw from Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa.

Amid New England’s early struggles, Christian Gonzalez has been as advertised as a budding No. 1 corner. And his impressive start has already caught the attention of a Patriots legend in Ty Law.

“Damn it, we got us a cornerback,” Law said during his weekly interview on WEEI’s “The Greg Hill Show” on Tuesday morning. “I’m not gonna totally anoint him just yet. But he’s on the way to anointment. … He’s on his way. I like what I see in Christian Gonzalez.”

With 53 career interceptions and a bust in Canton on his resume, Law is a good judge of elite talent in the defensive backfield.

Gonzalez was regarded as a blue-chip talent coming out of Oregon due to his athleticism, pro-ready frame (6-foot-2, 205 pounds), and instincts out on the field. But Law has been impressed by Gonzalez’s ability to physically engage with opponents, which was one of the few knocks against him coming out of college.

“Christian Gonzalez, man — that dude. I look at the little things,” Law said. “First of all he was competitive, he wasn’t afraid, and on the interception. … He picked it off at its highest point. He didn’t sit there and wait for it to come down … He went up there and did it fundamentally correctly.

“He did it at the highest point, giving himself a chance to make a play, and he did that. That is something during the game that a lot of people don’t do. And he’s doing that at such a young age and being competitive and running with guys. He’s not afraid and I like him.”

For Law, the one flaw with Gonzalez’s brief, but impressive, tenure in Foxborough so far has been his choice in jersey number (No. 6).

“When he gets anointed, we might have to put 24 on him,” Law joked. “You think about it, every time that there was a Super Bowl that was won [by] the Patriots, there was a 24 out there starting [at] corner.”

Law won three Super Bowls in New England while donning the No. 24 jersey, which was later worn by a few other standout corners in Foxborough like Darrelle Revis (Super Bowl XLIX) and Stephon Gilmore (Super Bowl LIII).