Markus Golden used to doubters, ready to prove Arizona Cardinals were right to pick him

May 7, 2015, 4:53 PM | Updated: 4:54 pm
...

TEMPE, Ariz. — Markus Golden was not the most talked about defensive player at Missouri over the last few seasons.

That’s not to say he was not productive.

Last season, as a senior, he tallied 8.5 QB sacks. The year before he earned 6.5.

Yet while he was producing on the field, it was his more heralded teammates, like Michael Sam, Kony Ealy and Shane Ray, who seemed to get most of the headlines. But when asked if he felt overshadowed in school and underrated now, Golden said not at all.

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said. “I wouldn’t even say I was overshadowed. If you look at my stats, compared to them guys, my stats are right there with them guys. Maybe they were talking to the media more than me a little bit, but you come down to Missouri, I get just as much love as they get.

“I’m just making plays, and I know what I can do on the field. Shane, Michael, Kony, we’ve got a lot of great defensive players that come from Mizzou, and we’re going to keep the tradition going.”

Fair enough.

Last week, after selecting Golden with their second-round pick, 58th overall, Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said often times they would turn on Missouri film to watch Ray, only to be impressed by Golden.

“‘Who the hell is 33 — he must be an underclassman,'” Arians said they would ask. “And all of a sudden, no, this guy’s a senior and he’s a balls-to-the-wall player. I just love the way he plays.”

He certainly fills a position of need for his new team.

Last season, Arizona’s defense generated just 35 QB sacks, the team’s lowest total since 2010. Their defense was still effective enough to help the Cardinals win 11 games, but you still could not help but wonder how good it could be with a better pass rush.

That’s where Golden, and his much-ballyhooed motor, come into play.

In fact, his dedication is generally pointed to first with regards to what makes him an effective player. Not his speed, which he used to run a 4.74 40-yard dash at his pro day. Not his vertical jump, which was 28.5 inches, nor his bench press, which saw him handle 17 reps of 225 pounds.

And they certainly don’t point to his 6-foot-2, 260-pound frame with 31 1/8-inch arms.

No, it’s something that can’t really be measured that is most often pointed to when talking about what he brings to the table. That could be upsetting to an athlete, but Golden, a captain last year with the Tigers, doesn’t sweat it.

“I’d be wrong to even let that frustrate me or motivate me,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. When you put on those pads, it doesn’t matter how tall you are, it doesn’t matter how long your arms are. All that matters is you’re going to go out there and make plays. You’re going to make plays for your team to win the game. You’re going to get takeaways, going to get the offense back the ball to win the game.”

It’s that simple.

NFL history is littered with players who did not quite fit the mold for their position, but succeeded anyway. Games are not won at the combine, after all, so whether or not a player has strong measurables doesn’t really matter much.

A former running back who went the JuCo route before winding up at Missouri, he is used to proving people wrong.

“My whole career has been built off people doubting me, like, I’ve been getting doubted in this game since little league, since I first started playing football, so it isn’t anything new to me,” he said. “I’ve always been in this position and I’m just ready to play.

“I can’t worry about that, I just want to come here and do whatever I’ve got to do to make the team better because the Arizona Cardinals put a lot into drafting me and I’m just blessed, and I’m just ready to pay them back. And I’m going to make sure I do that.”

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals defensive tackle Corey Peters (98) walks out before an NFL game between the Arizo...
Nikash Nath

PFF’s Doug Kyed advises Arizona Cardinals to bring back DL Corey Peters

With the Cardinals' current roster construction, PFF's Doug Kyed believes Arizona should bring DL Corey Peters back once more in 2022.
2 days ago
Ohio State Buckeyes offensive lineman Paris Johnson Jr. (77) protects his quarterback during the fi...
Sam Graveline

Cardinals take OT Paris Johnson Jr. in ESPN 2023 NFL mock draft

ESPN's Matt Miller thinks the Cardinals will beef up the offensive line in his first 2023 mock by selecting Ohio State OT Paris Johnson Jr.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury, right, and Byron Murphy Jr. (7) celebrate after an NFL foo...
Wills Rice

NFL.com’s Patra ranks Cardinals’ cornerbacks among weakest rooms in league

The Cardinals enter training camp with a few question marks personnel-wise on the defensive side of the ball, especially at cornerback.
3 days ago
Nick Scott #33 of the Los Angeles Rams tackles Zach Ertz #86 of the Arizona Cardinals after a recep...
Sam Graveline

PFF: Tight end shaping up to be biggest position battle for Arizona Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals head into training camp expecting to have healthy competition at a handful of positions, including at tight end.
4 days ago
Kyler Murray #1 of the Arizona Cardinals celebrates with fans after beating the Houston Texans 31-5...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals Corner: The timeframe of Kyler Murray’s contract extension

We haven't heard much lately when it comes down to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray and a contract extension. When will a new deal get done?
4 days ago
Markus Golden #44 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts to a defensive play during the first half against...
Nikash Nath

Cardinals LB Markus Golden among players with best team-friendly deals

Arizona Cardinals LB Markus Golden's contract cracked PFF analyst Brad Spielberger's top team-friendly deals ranking.
4 days ago
Markus Golden used to doubters, ready to prove Arizona Cardinals were right to pick him