Arizona Wildcats in the NFL

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The 2014 college football season is underway which can only mean one thing: the NFL regular season is upon us. Arizona has not been great with NFL talent, they have the third fewest alumni currently in the NFL from the Pac-12, but a lot of the players have made great impacts in the NFL. There are 10 Arizona Wildcats in the NFL currently (as of 9/1) and they will all look to make an impact on their respective teams. There are the grizzly old veterans returning to their teams and two rookies who are just starting their NFL journeys. With that lets take a look at the current Arizona Wildcats in the National Football League.

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  • Offense

    TE Rob Gronkowski ’10- New England Patriots

    When healthy there may not be a bigger game changer in the NFL. In his fours seasons with the Patriots, Gronk has 42 touchdown receptions, which is 21st out of all active players, and in 2011, his All-Pro season, he reeled in 17 touchdowns, which is the fifth most in NFL single-season history. If Gronk can stay healthy and have a long career there is a good chance he will be in conversation with Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten as some of the better tight ends to play in history of the NFL.

    QB Nick Foles ’12- Philadelphia Eagles

    What a second season the former U of A QB had in 2013. New Eagles head coach Chip Kelly made the decision to start Foles in Week five after Michael Vick went down with an injury. All Foles did once put in was throw for 27 touchdowns and just two interceptions. The Eagles finished 10-6, and won the NFC East, last season and won nine of the 12 games Foles started. He had one of the best seasons in NFL history last season and in 2014 will look to continue his success and lead the Eagles to a playoff win and the team’s first Super Bowl.

    RB Ka’Deem Carey ’14- Chicago Bears

    The greatest RB in Arizona history is now looking to become a valuable backup for the Chicago Bears. He may not be a huge impact to begin this season, or at all, but the future is bright for Carey and he should succeed when given the chance.

    Defense

    Oct 6, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) is tackled by Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) during the first quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

    LB Lance Briggs ’03- Chicago Bears

    What a career it has been for Briggs. He is entering his 12th season with the Bears and is looking to rebound off an injury riddled 2013 campaign. He is a seven time Pro-Bowler and was named an All-Pro in 2005. Briggs has 912 tackles, 15 sacks, 15 interceptions (seven for a TD), 15 forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries (one for a TD) in his great career. He and Brian Urlacher were staples in the middle for one of the best defenses year in and year out and Briggs sure has made the Wildcat faithful proud.

    CB Antoine Cason ’08-Carolina Panthers

    Cason is entering his seventh season in the NFL and is on his third team of his career. He has played in every single game of his NFL career and was a starter for the San Diego Chargers from 2010-2012. Cason has 251 career tackles, with 14 interceptions (two for a TD) and three fumble recoveries. He will enter 2014 as the Panthers starting corner.

    DT Earl Mitchell ’10- Miami Dolphins

    Mitchell spent his first four season playing with the Houston Texans, but will change teams this year and join the Dolphins. Last season as the starting nose tackle for the Texans, Mitchell enjoyed the best season of his career. He had 30 tackles and 1.5 sacks in his first season getting quality playing time. That success landed him a 4 year $16 million ($9 million guaranteed) contract with the Dolphins. He will enter the 2014 season as the third string nose tackle.

    LB Brooks Reed ’11- Houston Texans

    Reed is entering his fourth season with the Texans and will look to continue his steady play at the LB position. He has started every game he has played in the last two seasons and will look to take the next step in 2014. He has accumulated 93 tackles and 11.5 sacks in his first three years in the NFL.

    S Robert Golden ’12- Pittsburgh Steelers

    Golden will be entering his third season with the Steelers and will look to become a bigger contributor at free safety in 2014. He has played on special teams in 31 of the 32 games of his NFL career and has 16 tackles and one forced fumble in his brief career. The former Wildcat will enter the 2014 season as the #2 free safety on the Steelers depth chart.

    LB Marquis Flowers ’14- Cincinnati Bengals

    Flowers was a great surprise in Bengals camp and nailed a roster spot for the 2014 season. He will be a special teams guy and look to perform when called upon at linebacker.

    Special Teams

    PK Nick Folk ’07- New York Jets

    Folk has enjoyed a pretty solid career so far with the Dallas Cowboys and Jets. He made a Pro Bowl his rookie year, in 2007 with the Cowboys, and his since moved on to kick for the Jets since 2010. Folk is currently 17th in FG made, with 167, of active players.

    There are the 10 former Wildcats currently in the NFL. Five starters, three key backups and two rookies will look to continue to make the Arizona football family proud by representing U of A in the NFL.

    Current Pac-12 Alumni in the NFL by Team

    USC (41)

    California (31)

    Oregon (28)

    Stanford (25)

    UCLA (21)

    Utah (18)

    Arizona State (16)

    Oregon State (16)

    Washington (14)

    Arizona (10)

    Colorado (9)

    Washington State (7)

    *numbers from ESPN.com’s list of players in the NFL by college