Arizona vs. ASU: The finest NFL athletes with Territorial Cup roots

Patrick Smith

Both the Sun Devils and Wildcats have a rich history of players advancing to the next level. With lots of NFL fun on the agenda, let's take a look at who is where.

Both Arizona State and Arizona have produced some impressive talent that have gone onto play in the National Football League. Here are some of the finest athletes from each university currently playing professional ball:

Arizona State Sun Devils

Vontaze Burfict, Linebacker, Cincinnati Bengals

Burfict was the highest rated linebacker in his class when he signed with Arizona State but went undrafted in 2012 due to poor pre-draft workouts and combine performance. He led the Bengals in his rookie season with 127 tackles and has 77 already this season. He was fined $31,000 in Week 3 of this season for defenseless hits to James Jones and Ryan Taylor of the Packers.

Terrell Suggs, Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens

Suggs, famous for introducing ASU as "Ball So Hard University" during player introductions in prime-time games, was drafted with the tenth pick in the first round of the 2003 draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Suggs has spent his entire career alongside all-time great Ray Lewis up until last season. Suggs has 465 tackles and a Ravens' franchise record 93.5 sacks for his career. He was named 2011 NFL defensive player of the year when he had 50 tackles and 14 sacks. He also helped the Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans against the San Francisco 49ers last season and has been selected for the AFC Pro Bowl team five times.

Zach Miller, Tight end, Seattle Seahawks

Miller was selected in the second round with the 38th pick by the Oakland Raiders where he spent four seasons before signing a five-year, $34 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks in 2011. The Tempe native and graduate of Desert Vista High School has 311 receptions for his career good for 3,589 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Shawn Lauvao, Offensive tackle/guard, Cleveland Browns

The 315-pound offensive lineman was drafted in the third round of the 2010 draft by the Cleveland Browns with the 92nd overall pick. He has been a solid presence for the Browns at guard and tackle over the past four seasons, protecting Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Seneca Wallace, Thad Lewis, Brian Hoyer and Jason Campbell (boy, that's a lot of quarterbacks).

Paul Fanaika, Offensive lineman, Arizona Cardinals

Fanaika is a guard weighing in at 315 pounds and was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 2009 draft with the 213th overall pick. Fanaika has hopped teams throughout his career seeing time with the Redskins, Browns, and Seahawks before landing with the Arizona Cardinals for the 2013 season. He's only played in three games in his career.

Best of the rest:

Omar Bolden (Safety, Denver Broncos), Deveron Carr (Cornerback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Lawrence Guy (Defensive end, San Diego Chargers), Brandon Magee (Linebacker, Cleveland Browns), Brock Osweiler (Quarterback, Denver Broncos), Mike Pollak (Offensive lineman, Cincinnati Bengals), Brice Schwab (Offensive lineman, New England Patriots), Brandon Smith (Cornerback, Buffulo Bills), Kerry Taylor (Wide receiver, Jacksonville Jaguars), Kyle Williams (Wide receiver, Kansas City Chiefs)

Arizona Wildcats

Rob Gronkowski, Tight end, New England Patriots

"Gronk" as he is affectionately referred to by fans and teammates was taken by the Patriots with the 42nd overall pick in the second round of the 2010 draft. The first in the new wave of strong, tall, tight end and wide receiver combination players, Gronkowski had a dominant first three seasons including the 2011 campaign when he hauled in 90 receptions for 1,327 yards and 17 touchdowns. However Gronk has battled forearm, back, and hamstring issues as of late and has only appeared in five games this season. The 245-pound Gronkowski has also been known for his fair share of antics off the field as he has been seen at many nightclubs dancing with his shirt off and pictures of him posing with porn stars have circled the internet.

Nick Foles, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles

Foles was taken by the Eagles with the 88th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 draft. He is in his second year in the league, but was just recently named starting quarterback by former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. The Austin, Tex. native has put up impressive numbers so far in Philly throwing 22 touchdowns and only five interceptions completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 3,253 career passing yards.

Antoine Cason, Cornerback, Arizona Cardinals

Cason was drafted with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2008 draft by the San Diego Chargers. He spent his first five years with the Chargers before being picked up by the Arizona Cardinals who signed him to a one-year, $2 million dollar deal. He has underachieved this season playing in every game so far but only recording four tackles.

Brooks Reed, Linebacker, Houston Texans

Reed was born in Tucson and has provided solid value for the Texans after being selected 42nd overall pick in the 2011 draft. He has 80 tackles and 9.5 sacks in three years with the Texans. Reed and fellow linebacker Brian Cushing is one of the most intimidating tandems in the NFL and are partly responsible for Houston's number one ranking in pass defense this season only giving up 170.8 yards per game this year despite the 2-9 record.

Lance Briggs, Linebacker, Chicago Bears

Briggs was drafted by the Bears with the 68th overall pick in the third round of the 2003 draft. He is currently out of the starting lineup with a shoulder injury. In 2006, he helped the Bears to a birth in the Superbowl, losing to the Indianapolis Colts. He has 912 career tackles, 14 sacks and 15 interceptions in his career playing alongside future Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher.

Nick Folk, Place kicker, New York Jets

Folk was drafted in the 6th round of the 2007 draft with the 178th overall pick by the Dallas Cowboys. He was the place kicker in Dallas for three seasons before being picked up by the New York Jets in 2010 after he was waived by the Cowboys who lost faith in Folk in favor of Shaun Suisham. This season Folk beat out former Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff for the Jets starting kicker duties and he has shown his worth making three game-winning field goals this season.

Best of the rest:

Eben Britton (Offensive lineman, Chicago Bears), Juron Criner (Wide Receiver, Oakland Raiders), Robert Golden (Safety, Pittsburgh Steelers), Spencer Larsen (Fullback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Earl Mitchell (Nose tackle, Houston Texans), Trevin Wade (Cornerback, New Orleans Saints)

So now it's time to hear your take. The evidence has been presented now you decide. Who is the best current NFL player that once played in a Territorial Cup game? And which of the two schools has the best current crop of professional football players?

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