NFL Draft Prospect: Q&A with Missouri Defensive End Markus Golden

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Q&A with Markus Golden

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (33). Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Q. Tell us a little about your journey to this point. Where did you grow up, and how did you first get into playing football?

MG: I grew up in St. Louis, MO, and have always been playing football my whole life because of my family.

My dad played football and my big brothers taught me how to play football. Growing up, there were a lot of kids playing football so it just made me want to play.

Q. What led you to play for Missouri?

MG: When I was young, my big brother Sherman Golden got an offer to Missouri. That’s what really made me want to go to Mizzou. After that, he wasn’t really able to get there after going the junior college route.

I had to get in the same position, going the junior college route. I just had to make sure I had to get there.

That was part of it, but mostly, I always wanted to play for Mizzou because I grew up in St. Louis and that’s our home-state school.

Q. Do you consider yourself strictly a defensive end or can you play other positions as well?

MG: I can also play linebacker. I’ve played a bunch of different positions in my football career. Growing up, I was a running back, but when I got to junior college, I was able to play other positions, specifically on the defensive side of the ball.

Q. What led you to settle in at defensive end?

MG: When I got to Missouri, I first played linebacker. I ended up switching my second year, and I really realized that I like rushing the passer. It felt natural to get after the quarterback and stand up and play rush end.

Q. You had a very productive career at Missouri. Do you have a favorite moment or game in your time there?

MG: I had a bunch of big moments in college, but if I had to pick just one moment it’d be winning the SEC East championship against Arkansas to get to the SEC championship.

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (33). Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Q. What were you able to do in that game to help your team win?

MG: I was able to make a big play. They were going down for their last drive, I was able to strip the ball and recover it.

That was a big moment because they were trying to score and tie the game up, and recovering that fumble won us the game and helped us get to the SEC championship.

That’s a moment I’ll never forget.

Q. For those that aren’t familiar with your college career, define your game for us. What characterizes you as a defensive end? What are your strengths as a pass rusher?

MG: I’m a hard-nosed player who goes all out every play. I take it my play on the field personally. I play every play like it’s my last.

I’m also a high energy guy. I make plays all over the field. With my pass rush I just use a bunch of different moves to get to the quarterback. I’ll do whatever I have to do to get to the quarterback.

Q. As you said, you’re a guy that is nonstop on the field and plays with a really high motor. Is there a secret to playing with that type of energy every play?

MG: I don’t know if it’s a secret, but I do it in practice all week. I go at it during workouts all winter. I’m just always working hard.

My motto is that the best way to get in shape is to never get out of shape. That’s what I’m always doing. I’m just working hard to stay in shape, so when I get out there I can perform at a high level.

Q. Many will look at your production on the field and note your ability as a pass rusher. However, watching you on tape another thing that really stands out is your ability to seal the edge against the run. Do you feel your ability against the run is something that makes you unique at the position?

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (33) hits Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray (11). Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

MG: Yes, of course I do. Some guys are one-dimensional. They can just pass rush. I take stopping the run personally, especially playing in the SEC. You’ve got to be able to stop the run.

It’ something I take pride in. It’s about being quick and getting into gaps and making plays. I love making plays regardless if its against the run or rushing the passer.

Q. In your opinion, what is the most underrated part of your game?

MG: The fact that I go hard every play and don’t take any plays off. The whole year with my coaches at Mizzou, we’d count lows. If the coach felt like you were taking a play off, he’d count it as a low, and I’m the type of guy that would take it personally to not get “lows.”

I’m a guy that plays hard every play, even if I have to chase a guy down and catch him at the one-yard line. I’ll do whatever I have to do to make a play.

Q. With April 30th quickly approaching, what have you been doing since the college season has ended to prepare for the draft?

MG: I was in Atlanta training with Chuck Smith to prepare for the Senior Bowl, and then after the Senior Bowl, I went to Miami to train and prepare for the NFL Combine.

It’s been a lot of hard work and a lot of travelling. I’ve just been making I’m enjoying the process and have been taking it one day at a time.

But most of all, I’ve been working hard to get better each day.

Q. Is there anything you were able to prove to scouts or teams at the Senior Bowl?

MG: I just went out there and was myself. I just wanted to go out there and make plays, and I feel I did that. I just tried to be a beast on the field like I know I can be.

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (33). Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Q. Looking to the NFL, I’ve heard some say you are best suited as a defensive end, while others like you as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Do you feel you could play either position at the next level?

MG: I can play both 4-3 end or 3-4 backer. I don’t mind which one it ends up being. I’m blessed to be able to play either position.

Whatever a team wants me to play, I’ll play. I love to rush the passer, and I’ll know I’ll be able to rush the passer at either position, so I don’t mind which one it ends up being.

Q. Would you say you’re a versatile guy then that can do either well?

MG: Yes, I can do either. I can put my hand in the dirt in the 4-3 or stand up in the two-point stance and rush the quarterback as an outside linebacker.

Q. I’ve heard many analysts speak highly of you going into the draft. For you, what will that moment mean to you when you finally hear your name called on draft day?

MG: It’s going to be a blessing. I’ve been playing this game my whole life. Since I was a kid I’ve been wanting to play in the NFL one day and show people and my family that if you put your mind to it you can reach your goals.

The NFL is another goal in life that I’ll reach.

Any time you reach a goal it’s a big moment, but not just a big moment for me, it’ll be a big moment for my family and friends as well—all the people that have helped me out to get to this point.

Q. The Packers will be looking to add another talented edge rusher this spring. If a team like the Packers did draft you, what would you bring to their defense?

MG: I wouldn’t mind playing with Green Bay at all. I love their defense. I love the way Clay Matthews plays.

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Markus Golden (33) and teammates high five fans after they walk of the filed after defeating the Florida Gators. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I watched Clay Matthews a lot these last few years and tried to take a few things from his game and add it to my own. Mathews is relentless. I’d love to play with a guy like him.

On top of that, I’d love to come there and bring the same type of intensity that Matthews brings and make a bunch of plays and get to the quarterback. I feel like I could be a great player in Green Bay.

Q. Are there any NFL players you model your game after, gain inspiration from, or draw comparisons to?

MG: I don’t pick any one guy to model my game after. I just try to learn what I can from a bunch of different players.

I learned a lot from Sheldon Richardson, growing up with him and playing with him at Mizzou and watching him play in the NFL.

I learned a lot from him, but I don’t really try to imitate my game after any one guy.

Q. Tell us a little bit more about yourself. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?

MG: When I’m not playing football, since I’ve been away at college, I like to be with my family. I like being around my mom, my dad, and my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews.

Of course I love playing the game, but other than that, I like to hangout with my friends. I’m a pretty regular guy that likes to keep it simple and just hangout at my house.

Q. Finally, is there anything else you’d like us to know about you before I let you go?

MG: Not really, that’s it. I’m just ready to work and I feel I can compete with anybody. I’m excited to get going.

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