Which Arizona Wildcats Football alum had the best 2023 NFL season?

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
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. GP: 17. 29-30 FG, 28-30 PAT. K. Fokl. Nick Folk. 35. . Nick Folk. player

Nick Folk, Ty Zentner
Jacksonville Jaguars v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages

Not only is Folk unquestionably the best former Wildcat in the NFL, but he's also the longest-tenured by a country mile. The former fifth-round pick in 2007 by the Cowboys has been nearly automatic lately. Despite his age and a down season in 2022 with the Patriots, the Titans signed Folk and named him their starting kicker for the 2023 season.

He posted his 11th 100-point season, finishing with 115 points between his field goals and extra point attempts. He nailed 28 of 30 extra point attempts (93.3%), with his misses coming in the Week 13 loss to the Dolphins and the Week 15 loss to the Texans. His sole field goal miss was a 51-yard attempt in Week 10 against the Buccaneers. However, he hit on his five other 50-plus-yard tries including a 53-yard bomb against the Panthers in Week 12. He finished the season having made 29 of 30 field goal attempts, or 96.7% of his kicks.

Folk was the only former Wildcat to see action in every single game of the 2023 NFL regular season, and he made a real impact despite being 39 years old and on his fifth team.

. 32. . 42 TKL, 6 STF. player. Lopez. Roy Lopez. Roy Lopez. GP: 13. NT

Lopez, a 6 foot 2, near-320-pound defensive tackle, was on the Cardinals' practice squad to begin the year, but injuries to L.J. Collier and Carlos Watkins sent the former sixth-round pick by the Houston Texans to the active roster ahead of Week 4, and he never looked back. He worked into the rotation and appeared in the remaining 14 games on the Cardinals' schedule as their best interior run-defender.

Despite battling with Naquan Jones — who's listed ahead of him on the depth chart — and Leki Fotu at the other defensive tackle position, Lopez was the most productive of the three. He posted 42 total tackles on the season, with 22 of them coming solo. He also tallied six run-stuffs for a total loss of three yards. He still will split time with Fotu, who's a better pass rusher and tallied 2.5 sacks on the season, but nobody else on the interior defensive line was a better run-defender.

With a thin crop of talent at the interior defensive line and both Collier and Watkins working their ways back from season-ending injuries, expect Lopez to still be a mainstay in run-defense packages.

Tony Fields II. Tony Fields II. LB. . TF. . 53. player. GP: 11 (incl. playoffs). 35 TKL, 1 FR (incl. playoffs)

Tony Fields Ii
Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

As previously stated, Fields cut his teeth with the Wildcats and was a three-year starter before transferring to West Virginia in 2020 for his final season. Therefore, his inclusion in "Wildcats in the NFL" will be a staple moving forward. Fields was on the Browns' active roster for the entirety of the season, but his services were only utilized in 10 regular season games and very sparingly in their loss to the Texans in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

He saw a downtick in production from 2022, but he still posted 34 total tackles with 16 being solo. His best games came in Week 7 against the Colts and Week 18 against the Bengals. He notched 10 total tackles in his first game of the season against the Colts, and paired it with a run-stuff and a fumble recovery in the 39-38 win. Fields was flying all over the place in the final game of the season, notching 10 total tackles and a combined run-stuff against the Bengals, but that was a game where many of the starters on both teams rode the bench in preparation for the postseason.

Coming off a lackluster single-tackle performance in the Wild Card round where the Browns were ousted, it remains to be seen what will happen with Fields ahead of the final year of his rookie deal.