BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Ravens had a ferocious pass rush anchored by Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs and Pernell McPhee last season. McPhee has since moved on via free agency. He signed a big time contract with the Chicago Bears. Dumervil was among the league leaders in sacks and enjoyed what was arguably his best season in the NFL. Then there is Suggs, a veteran pass rusher that passed the legendary 100 sack count last season.
Both Dumervil and Suggs are growing long in the tooth. Suggs is 32 years old but he has said that he would like to play a few more seasons. Dumervil is 31 years old. The Ravens could use some depth at outside linebacker; especially after losing McPhee. One pass rusher that really fits the Ravens tough, nasty style of defense is Missouri hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker Markus Golden.
Golden is one of those defensive guys that plays the game with attitude. He is an intense competitor that shows a high motor on every snap. He explained what it is that makes him go hard on every play. “I always compete. You have to compete at a high level. It’s my ‘want to’ and determination that helps me get after quarterbacks.” Golden continued; “I love to play the game of football. I always work to be relentless. I’m getting out there and wanting to make the play no matter what, even if the quarterback is on the other side of the field, I will still try to get to him and make the play.”
The high motor is one of the biggest attributes for Golden. It isn’t rare to see him bring down a running back after the running back ran past him as he rushed up field. He can come down the line and make the tackle on stretch plays to the opposite side of him. Golden gets a very good jump on the ball and uses a quick inside move teamed with a swim move to make his way down the line of scrimmage.
Some have said that his 31 1/8th inch arms are too short for him to be an edge pass rusher. That’s not truly the case. Golden has extremely violent hands. He is able to use them to knock down the offensive lineman’s hands as they try to lock onto his chest plate. For Golden, it’s all about who gets to the other man first. When asked about this, he said; “I work on getting my hands on them before they get their hands on me. It makes it easier to get to the quarterback. I take pride in having strong hands but I work to have quick hands also.”
Those strong hands are exactly what he uses to aggressively set the edge against running plays to his side. Setting the edge is of absolute importance for a 3-4 outside linebacker. Golden is fully capable of holding his ground and forcing runs back inside. His compact, powerful body is full of energy and he uses every bit of it to unload on ball carriers when he makes tackles. Simply put, he is a violent tackler.
He also uses that compact strength to resist blockers who are trying to turn him out to create a seam for the running back to cut up field. Golden played defensive end for two years while at Missouri. However, he did get the opportunity to rush the passer from a standing position. He seemed comfortable standing up. It allowed him to use his core strength and leverage to overpower offensive lineman.
His initial punch is very powerful and it shocks taller offensive tackles when he is able to get under them and explode into their numbers. Standing up also allows Golden to see the field better. That’s a plus for him because he seems to have very good awareness of the passing game and can time his jump to clog up passing lanes.
The best way to describe Markus Golden is a high energy guy that will not give up on a play and finishes tackles in a violent manner. He is able to close on mobile quarterbacks very well. The video below is an example of how he closes.
Golden starts the play with his patented inside move. He sets it up with a nice stutter step before he slides right by the right tackle. The coaching staff at Toledo has seen this before. They utilize a running back to step up and wait for Golden as he makes his move inside. The running back is releasing to a route but he is supposed to get a hit on Golden to slow him down first.
The chip shot by the back isn’t a factor and he becomes a bump in the road towards the quarterback. The quarterback tries to outrun Golden but sees that he won’t be able to get to the outside. Golden brings him down as he reverses his field.
2015 NFL Draft Spotlight: Missouri OLB/DE Markus Golden
Draft projection: Late 2nd to 3rd round
Why should the Ravens consider this prospect?
The Ravens defense is all about attitude. Golden is the epitome of attitude on the football field. Suggs and Dumervil are not getting any younger. It is time to start looking for someone that can be groomed take over for Suggs and be the emotional leader of the defense on the field later on down the line. Golden is very similar to Suggs in that he talks a good deal on the field and pumps up his sideline after making a big play.
NFL Comparison: Ahmad Brooks
Brooks is a bigger and faster player but it’s all about the mean attitude that they play with. Both of these players arrive at tackles with bad intentions. They are both very fiery players that make plays on the opposite side of the line of scrimmage. Like Brooks, Golden would likely be a strong side player because of the ability to aggressively set the edge. Brooks doesn’t come off of the field in running situations or passing situations. He isn’t someone that is classified as solely a pass rusher or run stopper. The same can be said for Golden. He is a three down player.