FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots waited patiently with their top pick of the NFL draft, trading back three spots and addressing a hole in their secondary by selecting Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzalez with the 17th pick on Thursday night.
The Patriots entered the night holding the No. 14 selection but swapped first-round picks with Pittsburgh, getting a fourth-round pick (120th overall) from the Steelers.
Gonzalez, who transferred to Oregon after two seasons at Colorado, has a versatile skillset and was effective both in coverage and against the run, notching four interceptions and 50 tackles last season.
He fills an immediate need for the Patriots, who were looking for a cornerback to pair with Jonathan Jones.
New England ran its streak of making at least one trade during the draft to 19 years. During coach Bill Belichick’s tenure, the Patriots have declined to make a draft-day trade only once, in 2004.
They will enter Day 2 of the draft holding 11 remaining picks and are set to pick 15th in the second round (46th overall) and 13th in the third round (76th overall). New England holds at least one pick in every round except for the fifth.
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