There is a lot to like about what Markus Golden did in his rookie season.
Thrust into a starting role because of injury and ineffectiveness, he put up respectable numbers, was around the ball a lot, and has the look of a player that will continue to grow.
The problem lies with the expectations that are being created by some and how those expectations can cripple a young player.
While everyone wants their favorite team to be riddled with All Pro level players all over the field, a lot of teams have core players who are just good football players. They may not be special, elite, or All Pros, but they are the types of players that fill out Super Bowl winning rosters often.
Golden had four sacks as a rookie, which was good for the third best rookie season since 2000, behind Sam Acho (7) and Karlos Dansby (5).
Yet, the comparisons he is receiving draw much higher expectations.
Why Cards haven’t re-signed Freeney: Markus Golden— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) June 5, 2016
Wk 11, Collinsworth: He’s going to be a "special player," compared him to James Harrison
Harrison is one of the great success stories in NFL history, after going undrafted, playing in NFL Europe, and being cut numerous times, Harrison put up a Hall of Fame worthy career on the field, going to five Pro Bowls, making two All-Pro teams and winning defensive player of the year.
Is the comparison about the motor, the physiciality and the never say die attitude that Golden displays every week? Probably, but to put a comparison like James Harrison on a young player, I have jokingly referred to Golden as Lamar Harrison after he was compared to both James Harrison and Lamar Woodley by the Arizona Cardinals staff, is unfair in expectations.
Golden will be successful, he's to talented and hard working not to be, but if he never reaches double digit sacks will that mean he wasn't good enough, or were unrealistic comparisons put on him?