Arizona’s Roy Lopez, Gary Brightwell drafted back-to-back in 6th round

May 1, 2021, 1:34 PM
Arizona running back Gary Brightwell (0) runs the ball against Arizona State in the first half of a...

Arizona running back Gary Brightwell (0) runs the ball against Arizona State in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It took until midway through the third day of the 2021 NFL Draft for an Arizona Wildcat to be selected. Then, in the sixth round, defensive tackle Roy Lopez and running back Gary Brightwell were selected back-to-back.

Lopez, listed at 6-foot-2 and 304 pounds, was selected by the Houston Texans with the 195th pick.

Brightwell was taken at No. 196 by the New York Giants.

Lopez spent the first four years of his collegiate career at New Mexico State before transferring to Arizona. As an Aggie, Lopez broke out in his junior season with 63 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, but he only played four games as a senior in 2019 due to injury. He redshirted that year and transferred to Arizona for his final season of eligibility.

In Tucson, Lopez had 18 tackles, four tackles for loss and a sack in five games.

Brightwell earned an All Pac-12 honorable mention in 2020 as he rushed for 390 yards in five games. Brightwell rushed for over 100 yards in two games last season, tallying 112 yards in the Wildcats’ opening game against USC and 117 against Colorado.

Brightwell did not take over the Wildcats’ full-time starting role until 2020 after J.J. Taylor left Tucson. Once Brightwell got the opportunity, he tied his career-high in rushing yards in only five games.

In Brightwell’s four-year collegiate career, he rushed for 1,305 on 245 carries, averaging 5.3 yards per attempt.

A three-star recruit coming out of high school, Brightwell spent his freshman year playing on special teams. During his sophomore year, he racked up 525 rushing yards on 91 carries, both of which were career-highs.’s Daniel Jeremiah had Brightwell ranked as the 138th best prospect in this year’s class.

This is the first draft since 2016 that the Arizona football program has had multiple picks, according to Jon Wilner.


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