Rob Gronkowski is the only representative from the state of Arizona’s two Pac-12 schools on ESPN’s Ultimate All-Conference team list, while a handful of Arizona Cardinals made the cut for other conferences.
ESPN’s football writers created all-conference teams of current NFL players and stacked them up against one another. The Big Ten, they voted, had the best team of current pros.
The Pac-12 came in fourth.
An Arizona Wildcat, Gronkowski came out of retirement this offseason after a trade to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is listed as a “flex” player on the All-Pac-12 NFL squad. During his last NFL season in 2018, the tight end recorded 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games with the New England Patriots.
Cardinals receivers Larry Fitzgerald (Pittsburgh) and DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson) filled out the two receiver slots for the third-ranked ACC squad, and teammate Chandler Jones, from Syracuse, made the roster as the conference’s edge rusher.
Fitzgerald is still going strong in his lengthy career, recording 804 yards last year, while Hopkins surpassed 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his seven-year career. Jones was second in the NFL with 19.0 sacks last year.
Along with Gronkowski, the Pac-12 All-Conference NFL team included Cardinals safety Budda Baker out of Washington, while the fifth-place Big 12 squad features new Arizona defensive lineman Jordan Phillips (Oklahoma) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (Texas). Baker and Hicks were both in the top-five in the NFL in total tackles, while Phillips had a career-best 9.5 sacks in 2019.
Notably left off the all-conference teams was Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (LSU), who didn’t make the SEC roster behind the Patriots’ Stephon Gillmore (South Carolina) and the Bills’ Tre’Davious White (LSU).