More Cats Get Shot at NFL

April 29, 2010

Arizona offensive lineman Mike Diaz, safety Cam Nelson, fullback Chris Gronkowski, cornerback Devin Ross and linebacker Vuna Tuihalamaka begin their quest for National Football League careers in earnest this week, following the NFL Draft that concluded last Saturday.

Diaz is to attend a Cleveland Browns mini-camp, and Nelson one with the Chicago Bears this weekend.

Gronkowski (Dallas Cowboys), Tuihalamaka (Indianapolis Colts) and Ross (Philadelphia Eagles) have reported deals under way that give them a chance at landing a roster spot as free agents.

Head coach Mike Stoops had two more Wildcats drafted last week, including second-round selection tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was selected by the New England Patriots with the 42nd overall choice, and defensive lineman Earl Mitchell, a third-round pick by the Houston Texans as the No. 81 selection in the draft. That gives Arizona 13 picks in the last five drafts.

Arizona has had a dozen NFL picks in the past four years -- all Stoops' recruits -- including first-rounder Antoine Cason in 2008. Other Cats, including defensive linema Lionel Dotson and safety Nate Ness made NFL teams' regular-season rosters as free agents. Others have been in preseason camps or spring/summer mini-camps.

2010 Wildcats likely to get close evaluation from scouts at games during the season include defensive ends Brooks Reed and Ricky Elmore, center Colin Baxter, offensive tackle Adam Grant, guard Conan Amituanai, safety Joe Perkins and running back Nic Grigsby, among others.

Arizona NFL Draftees Under Mike StoopsOL Kili Lefotu-2006; RB Chris Henry, K Nick Folk, S Michael Johnson and WR Syndric Steptoe-2007; CB Antoine Cason, LB Spencer Larsen, CB Wilrey Fontenot and DL Lionel Dotson-2008; OT Eben Britton, WR Mike Thomas-2009; TE Rob Gronkowski, DL Earl Mitchell-2010.

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