NFL Draft: Former Wildcats proving he’s Worthy of the Draft


The 2016 NFL Draft is around the corner; our Wildcats are preparing physically for the draft with their agents and their trainers, preparing mentally is a whole different ball game.

The 2016 NFL Draft is coming up on April 28-30th, the tracker on is counting down the seconds, minutes, hours and days. The countdown as of right this minute is two days, 22 hours, seven minutes and five seconds. Even though the draft isn’t happening for days, the amount of coverage on TV and the internet is immense, from mock drafts to detailed analysis on each draft pick.

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Former Arizona defensive lineman Jeff Worthy is preparing himself physically and mentally. Physically, he has a great trainer in Joe Marino (MPF Training Systems), who works with him on his strength and conditioning. Have you ever walked by the training room right before a game and you see those humongous Wildcats running and warming up? Well, he’s one of those Wildcats. He tells us he consumes 5,500 calories a day. He’s working out, so he’s ready to go when his name is called.

Worthy started out playing basketball in high school then switched to football later, he enjoys tackling his opponent, sacking a quarterback is “better than almost anything else you can imagine” according to Jeff. He received full rides offered to him by both USC and UCLA, but chose Boise because “I wanted to be respected.” He eventually transferred to Arizona where he found his home.

Driven isn’t a proper word when describing Worthy’s focus on his dream and doing everything he can to get to live it, uber driven is more like it. Sponsorship also helps according to Jeff.

Pro day went well for Worthy, although he wasn’t satisfied, he is striving for being the best defensive lineman he can be. What did come out of pro day, was a lot of generated interest from NFL teams. “It’s been going good, I have been getting some interest from some teams in the NFL,” explained Worthy “And from Europe and the Arena League too.” Jet’s the Saints and Minnesota. “I’m going to be a free agent, if anything, it’s all just a waiting game at this point, you just gotta wait ’til the drafts over and then the phone’s going to ring off the hook.”

He reminded us that former Wildcat Dan Pettinato made it onto a practice squad. His chance at the NFL came by way of getting signed as a free agent to the Houston Texans. He got dropped after training camp, but then got picked up for their practice squad.

As far as which European teams have come knocking, specifically the Division 1 Germany Football League. Jeff explained that you play in the summer. A few European players have graduated from football overseas to the NFL, but it’s not like a D-League yet, the plus is that you do get paid to do what you love to do. It’s a viable option for Worthy if the NFL doesn’t pan out, but he feels positive he has a good chance at the NFL.

Worthy didn’t get a ton of playing time in his junior year at Arizona, but his time on the field did pick up in his senior year when he made some big plays including some huge impact plays. Worthy’s hit on Utah running back Devontae Booker forced a fumble in that sweet double overtime win last season is just one example.


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“I feel like I am a clutch player too,” said Worthy, “I know what’s going on, and I know when we need to make a big play, and I was one of the guys who made them. That’s the kind of player I am. Hopefully, a team will take a chance on me and give me a shot, and that’s all I’m looking for is a shot. Get me into camp and I’ll show you what I can do.”

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Worthy is acutely aware of what it is going to take and who he’s going to be competing against when the time comes to prove himself, “They [NFL players] are fighting for a job, they’re fighting for money, their family, everything. We are all fighting for a spot, and they are willing to do anything to get there.” He’s right there with them; he just wants to get his foot in the door.

Any free agent rookie who gets a call from a team, and that team wants you, and another team wants you as well, you may get a choice. But it’s bittersweet says Worthy, “You get to choose where you want to go, but if you choose wrong, say a team already has their D-linemen set up, you’re not going to get far in that camp. If you go to a team that has some needs at defensive linemen, then you have a better chance of making the team, but it might not be in a place you want to be.”

Let’s be perfectly clear here, Jeff Worthy wants to be in the NFL, any team, but choosing will be fun. “It’s all about where you want to go and how competitive it’s going to be to make the team. My Agent is the one getting all the phone calls right now. They are going to call my agent; he’s going to talk to them about their needs and what kind of player they are looking agent explains me to them and sends them my film.”

Jeff’s very happy with his film, and after watching it, you would have to agree.

What happens for Jeff during the draft, “It’s all going to be a waiting game during the draft for me,  I’m just going to be patient and hoping that Will [Parks] is going to get drafted, Reggie [Gilbert] and rooting those guys on.” Well, he’s a great teammate, wishing well for his fellow Cats, it’s an endearing quality, along with his character.

These days character counts a lot more when NFL teams are putting together their draft plan. Worthy explains his knowledge of how the NFL Teams go about planning their draft. “They draft based on talent, if you have all this talent, and you are good at football, they are going to draft you higher — they’ll straighten you out, because that’s what they do,” he instructed, “Then they look for talented guys who are a good asset to the team….talent to high character, players who still have good talented skills, someone who can also help your team.”

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, he went out there and was a jerk; nowadays you represent a team a city and you represent your family. And character is more important because you represent an NFL team.” He’s right on that account; NFL teams are thinking twice about drafting or keeping a talented, yet selfish athlete or that athlete who has that ‘I vs. We’ mentality (e.g.

Josh Norman untagged by the Panthers

supposedly for that reason and picked up by the Redskins.)

He’s grown up a lot since his days at Boise State and appreciates the position he has earned, “I have changed a lot as a person and a football player. My turn will be after the draft, and I’m okay with that, I wasn’t even supposed to be here, so I’m just being patient.” He is well aware even getting recruited to a college program is not easy, “It’s all about connections. There are millions of high school kids playing football, two percent of them go to college and play, that’s a very low number, so it’s all about connections.”

ZZ reached out to Jeff’s former teammate and fellow NFL draftee Will Parks to get his insight. “Jeff’s not only a good player, but I think it’s good to have good character on your team, and Jeff definitely holds himself to a higher standard, he’s humble,” affirmed Parks, “He can be a good role model for different kids and players in the program, that’s definitely a blessing. He’s a great person.”

We also caught up with Arizona Wildcats football announcer for the IMG Sports Network and former Arizona Wildcat Lamont Lovett who had this to say about Jeff:

"Jeff had a nice career at the UofA. He is a player that showed a great motor while on the field. He improved as a pass rusher this past season for the Wildcats, with more of a DE role as opposed to playing Noseguard during his first season. He had some bad luck with injuries during his career, but to his credit he continued to compete at a high level. Making it in the NFL is about finding the right situation as far as scheme and opportunities. I will be rooting for him."

Next: Arizona Football Pro Day this week, No media allowed

“I want to blow up,” said Worthy, “I want to get out there and put on a show, bringing home a paycheck for my family, and that’s all that matters to me, I don’t care where I do it at, all the games are on TV anyways.” Very true Jeff, very true, every NFL team would be lucky to draft or sign you. BearDown Wildcat!