NFL Draft Wrap-up: Arizona Wildcats signed by NFL Teams


A few former Arizona Football players may not have heard their names called this weekend, but a few Wildcats were eventually signed to NFL Rosters following the NFL Draft.

It was a seemingly busy Saturday for quite a few Wildcats this past weekend. As I’m sure we’re all well aware of Scooby Wright, and Will Parks getting drafted, a few former Arizona Football players also found themselves on NFL Rosters following the draft.

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Making an NFL Roster is difficult, I mean extremely difficult. First, there were only 253 picks in this years’ draft., three fewer picks than in 2015. Keep in mind; NFL rosters can only have 53 players on a roster (not including practice squad players), so there isn’t a ton of room on teams to make sure there’s a roster spot. Additionally, and perhaps the most challenging, is that the average NFL Career is also only three years, so there is plenty of turnover in the league.

So getting drafted in the lower rounds is almost a disservice to any aspiring professional football player. Granted there are anomalies like Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Richard Sherman, etc., but point being is that it’s tough just to make an NFL roster, let alone have an average, to slightly better than average career that lasts more than just a couple seasons.

This weekend, a few Wildcats at least have the opportunity to prove themselves, and possibly become those anomalies as well. Former Cats Lene Maiava, Cayleb Jones, Jared Baker, Reggie Gilbert and David Richards also found themselves signed to NFL teams, but via the way as Undrafted Free Agents. Meaning, because they weren’t drafted, they have deals in place with an NFL team, that give them a chance to tryout essentially, and hopefully make the roster.

Worth noting, Baker went to the Arizona Cardinals, Gilbert to the Packers, Jones to the Eagles, Maiava to the Seahawks, and Richards went to the Falcons!

Scooby Wright III was on the phone with Bruce Arians of the Arizona Cardinals right before he was drafted, and the coach later expressed remorse that he couldn’t sign Scooby. Well? He should have drafted him!

If anything, this weekend should prove the porous adjudicated view of the Arizona Football program. Granted we are not Alabama, Ohio State, USC, etc. we don’t turn out numerous NFL-caliber players every year, nor do we have the track record of producing great Pros as those said schools. However, as Arizona has proven, NFL talent does come through Tucson from time-to-time.

Antonio Pierce
Antonio Pierce /

, and the list goes on. Our football program apparently hasn’t seen nearly the same success as our basketball program has, but it’s time for NFL Scouts and GM’s to start taking Arizona football more serious.

Perhaps that starts with our group of Wildcats as they embark on their professional careers, hoping to prove many GM’s, analysts and coaches wrong.

Just today, Jeff Worthy announced he was invited to try out for the Los Angeles KISS, LA’s Arena Football team. He is stoked to get this tryout, even he was snubbed during and after the draft, and is still waiting for his potential NFL phone call.

Related Story: NFL Draft: Scooby Wright vs. Myles Jack Ranking Disparity Perplexing

Ultimately, this weekend proved to be difficult for Arizona football in some ways, highlighted by the sort of lack of respect for our football team and program. Granted a lot goes into player testing and performance, something that definitely hurt some Wildcats heading into the draft, but at ZZ, we’re hoping our guys can use this as fuel to prove people wrong! Good luck to our Former Wildcats, and Beardown, always!