The Arizona Cardinals may have struck gold in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft with their pick of Markus Golden.
After an up and down rookie year, where he posted four sacks, he broke onto the scene in 2016 with 12.5 sacks.
With 16.5 sacks in two seasons, he is on pace to be one of the more productive players from the 2015 draft as a whole.
However, he is not only just one of the better players from the 2015 draft, he is one of the better pass rushers in the NFL according to Bleacher Report.
Yes, Golden did benefit from a formidable group of linemen around him last year, especially Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones, but when you watch the tape, it’s clear that Golden would succeed in any scheme, with any group of teammates around him.
Moreover, there has been much made of if Golden is benefiting from those around him on the Arizona Cardinals.
I would say yes, Golden has been a benefactor of a strong defensive front that had two of the more dynamic and established playmakers in the NFL in Calais Campbell and Chandler Jones. Bleacher Report and their NFL 1000 scouts don’t deny that, but they see something special in Golden:
At 6'2" and 255 pounds, Golden is an average-sized outside pass-rusher, and his primary attribute is a combination of speed and body control that is rare for a player with his level of experience. As a stand-up linebacker, he has the ability to simply run around blockers or through gaps with excellent timing, and when he’s dealing with a quarterback on the move, he’s great at re-centering his body and staying on target to get the pressure or sack. His acceleration to the quarterback once he’s turned to get to the pocket is spectacular. That’s why the Cardinals can align him to either edge, with his hand on or off the ground, or move him around the formation.
They talked about his go to move that makes this happen:
Golden has developed the upper-body strength to deal with blockers in his way—he has an excellent "power push" to bull-rush the blocker after an initial hit, and he can get low to the ground quickly to use leverage in a way that launches him through to the pocket.
There is much to look forward to this upcoming season, Golden being one of the most exciting.