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

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans / Wesley Hitt/GettyImages
4 of 4

Limited action

58. GP: 4. Jalen Harris. . . DE. player. Harris. Jalen Harris. 6 TKL, 1 STF, 1 PD

Harris had a pretty decent rookie year by Arizona Football alumni standards. He latched on with the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent following the 2023 NFL Draft, but he was fined for unnecessary roughness in the preseason was waived two days later as a part of the final roster cuts ahead of the season. He was signed to the practice squad the next day, where he stayed for the first half of the season.

The Commanders signed him off the Bears' practice squad on Nov. 20, 2023, and he made his NFL debut three days later against the Dallas Cowboys, where he logged one tackle. His best outing of the season was in Week 18, which was also against the Cowboys. Harris logged a pair of solo tackles, a run-stuff, and a pass deflected at the line.

There's room for Harris to improve and see more playing time with the midseason trades of Chase Young and Montez Sweat opening up two new vacancies along Washington's defensive line.

Gary Brightwell. player. 9 CAR, 19 YD; 5 REC, 47 YD. Gary Brightwell. RB. GP: 3. 31. GB. .

Gary Brightwell
New York Giants v Arizona Cardinals / Michael Owens/GettyImages

Brightwell has carved out a role for himself on the Giants as both Saquon Barkley's backup and a special teams contributor. He entered 2023 coming off his best season in the pros where he played in all 17 games and saw 31 carries for 141 yards and a touchdown, caught five passes for 39 yards, and returned 22 kickoffs for a total of 555 yards.

Brightwell saw action in three of the first four games for the Giants before suffering an ankle injury that he was able to play through. He remained on the active roster through the Week 7 matchup against the Washington Commanders, but suffered a hamstring injury in the game that sent him to IR. Though he returned to action ahead of the Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he didn't see the field for the rest of the season.

The 2024-25 season will be the last one on Brightwell's rookie deal, and he'll need to prove himself as a valuable multipurpose asset like he did in 2022-23 if he hopes to stick around in the Big Apple.

Tay. . GP: 0 (PS). 10. RB. . J.J. Taylor. . J.J. Taylor. player

After riding the bottom of the Patriots' depth chart for three years, New England finally decided to part ways with Taylor in 2023. This decision comes three years after picking him up as an undrafted free agent in the 2020 draft and giving him 52 carries for 156 yards and two touchdowns in his time in Foxborough. He was out of a job for just over two months when the Texans signed him to the practice squad, where he has remained ever since.

He wasn't elevated to the active roster a single time throughout the season, and he is the only running back on the roster not listed on the official depth chart, essentially saying he's the fourth-string back. Taylor's future in the NFL remains up in the air, as he could remain on Houston's practice squad, sign to another one in hopes of getting playing time or heading to a supplemental league in the event he is cut or waived.

ALSO. St. Projecting Arizona Football's starting lineup in 2024. dark

Don’t forget to follow us at @ZonaZealots on Twitter, follow us at @ZonaZealotsFS on Instagram, and like our fan page on Facebook for continued coverage of Arizona news, opinions, and recruiting updates!