Top NFL players from Arizona

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals is a storied franchise that has been a feature of the NFL since its inception, one of only two franchises to hold that honor.

Cardinals fans checking out the NFL odds will see that their team is once again a serious contender for the Super Bowl this season, but Arizona football is about more than the Cardinals. In fact, the state has produced many NFL stalwarts, including several who are still playing or just starting out in their NFL careers. Here are some of the top NFL players to come out of the Grand Canyon state:

Vance Johnson – Wide receiver

Johnson attended the University of Arizona and Cholla High School in Tucson. He was selected by Denver in the second round of the 1985 NFL Draft, and he spent the next 10 seasons playing for the Broncos. His greatest season was 1989 when he set career highs with 76 receptions for 1,095 yards and seven touchdowns. Johnson finished his career with 415 receptions for 5,695 yards and 37 touchdowns. In his 10-game playoff playing career, he participated in two Super Bowls.

Paul Robinson – Running back

Before he moved to Eastern Arizona Junior College and the University of Arizona, Robinson was a student at Marana High School near Tucson. He participated in six pro seasons with the Houston Oilers and the Cincinnati Bengals, where he received two invitations to the AFL All-Star Game. As a Bengals rookie in 1968, Robinson led the AFL in rushing with 1,023 yards and eight touchdowns. He concluded his professional career with 2,947 yards and 26 touchdowns overall.

Danny White – Quarterback

White went to Arizona State and Westwood High School in Mesa. After Roger Staubach’s retirement in 1980, he played 13 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, becoming the team’s starting quarterback. White appeared in two NFL Championship Games while starting 92 regular-season games and 10 playoff games. In those games, he had a 62-30 record and a 5-5 postseason record. In his career, White threw for 21,959 yards and 155 touchdowns.

Steve Jordan – Tight end

Jordan played college football for Brown University in the Ivy League after attending South Mountain High School in Phoenix. He was picked up by Minnesota in the seventh round of the 1982 NFL Draft, and he gave the Vikings 13 years of service in return. During the 1986 to 1991 seasons, Jordan received six consecutive Pro Bowl invitations. During that time, he had 498 career receptions for 6,308 yards and 28 touchdown catches.

Randall McDaniel – Guard

McDaniel was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009. He attended Agua Fria High School in Avondale and moved on to Arizona State where he was a starter for four years and was selected as an All-American as a senior. He was selected by Minnesota in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft, and he spent 12 of his 14 NFL seasons with the Vikings. Remarkably, he missed only two games in his NFL career and finished as a 12-time Pro Bowl and seven-time first-team All-Pro selection.

Mark Gastineau – Defensive lineman

Gastineau attended Round Valley High in Eagar, Arizona before spending one season at each of Eastern Arizona Junior College and Arizona State before moving to East Central Oklahoma. The New York Jets selected him in the second round of the 1979 NFL Draft and he established himself as a key member of the famous New York Sack Exchange, recording 19 and 22 sacks in 1983 and 1984 respectively, both of which were NFL records. He spent his entire 10-year career with the Jets, where he was selected for three first-team All-Pro teams and received five invitations to the Pro Bowl.

Terrell Suggs – Defensive lineman

Suggs, an All-America pick at Arizona State, was a former Arizona high school standout from Hamilton High in Chandler. For the Sun Devils in 2002, he recorded 24 sacks, which is still the NCAA record. Suggs spent 16 seasons with the Ravens after being selected by Baltimore as the 10th overall pick in 2003. He participated in 13 games for the Cardinals before being released and joining the Chiefs, where he eventually won Super Bowl LIV. Suggs has played in the Pro Bowl seven times and previously won Super Bowl XLVII with the Ravens. In his professional career so far, he has tallied 139 sacks, 37 forced fumbles, and 15 fumble recoveries.