The Steelers are hosting one of the big fish at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on Thursday as Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez will be on a Top-30 pre-draft visit in Pittsburgh on Thursday, according to numerous reports.
Among most projections, Gonzalez is a potential Top-10 pick and the first cornerback off the board in the 2023 NFL Draft. Coming from a background with plenty of athletes, including Olympians, it is not surprising to see Gonzalez test like a freak at the NFL Combine, which he did.
In Indianapolis, he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash, registered a 41 1/2-inch vertical, and a staggering 11-foot-1-inch broad jump. The 6-foot-1, 197-pound Gonzalez grew into a star in Eugene where he became a first-team All-PAC 12 selection in 2022 after having a strong year.
In his career, Gonzalez racked up 4 interceptions, all of which occurred in 2022. Following that, he racked up 138 tackles, 17 pass deflections, and 6 tackles for loss over his three years at Oregon. The Steelers have been sniffing around the cornerback market, so Gonzalez’s inclusion into that group is not surprising. It seems that they have hosted just about every top cornerback in the class, so expect Gonzalez to be among the potential contenders at 17 if he lands there.
Gonzalez has rare athleticism and versatility for the position. A true player that can play in the slot or outside, he has the most versatility to potentially replace what they had in Cam Sutton after Sutton left for the Detroit Lions. The Steelers often do not go out to the west coast very often to select their top picks, or really any picks at all, but Gonzalez has a lot of interesting traits that could draw Pittsburgh to him. He could end up being one of the few exceptions given his pedigree and the tape he put out in 2022.