The 5 biggest NFL Draft hits from Arizona Football of the last 15 years

The last 15 years have been surprisingly solid in terms of Arizona football alum performing well in the NFL.
New York Jets v New England Patriots
New York Jets v New England Patriots / Jim Rogash/GettyImages
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BR. 2011 2nd round. Arizona: 2007-10. Brooks Reed - OLB. Brooks Reed - OLB. player. 10. . . 4

Brooks Reed
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Reed, a Tucson native who played high school ball at Sabino High School, committed to play collegiately for his hometown Wildcats. His freshman year was quiet, but he notched a team-leading eight sacks in his sophomore year. After a quiet two-sack junior season in 2009, he returned with a vengeance in his senior year in 2010: 6.5 sacks, 47 total tackles, and a First Team All-Pac-10 nod.

The Houston Texans drafted Reed in the second round of the 2011 NFL Draft with the 42nd overall pick. This was the second year in a row the Texans had used a Day 2 draft pick on an Arizona defender after drafting Earl Mitchell — who we'll talk about in a second — in 2010. He went on to play 120 of a possible 128 games over the first eight seasons of his career in the league.

The biggest knock on Reed is that the best year of his career was his rookie year in 2011, where he played in all 16 games and notched a career-high six sacks while breaking up three passes and recovering two fumbles. However, his entire Texans tenure was solid: he forced his first career fumble and broke up three more passes in 2012, he posted a career-high 56 total tackles (43 solo) in 2013, and grabbed his first interceptions while breaking up four more passes in 2014.

Brooks Reed
Divisional Round - Seattle Seahawks v Atlanta Falcons / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

After his time in Houston, he played for the Atlanta Falcons from 2015-18 and reached Super Bowl LI with them in the 2016-17 season. His best season in Atlanta was in 2017, where he logged 41 total tackles and four sacks — the highest total since his rookie year. He played one more season in a rotational role for Atlanta in 2018 before he was released.

He played the 2019 season in his home state of Arizona for the Cardinals, and he closed out his career with a one-season stint with the Tennessee Titans. Although Reed never matched the production from his rookie year, the Tucson local carved out a niche and played for 10 seasons across four teams as a staple rotational piece at the highest possible level of football.