DE Golden shining bright at Senior Bowl

DE Markus Golden is poised to continue a recent tradition of Missouri defensive linemen to become high-round draft choices and he doesn’t lack confidence.

MOBILE, Ala. — Markus Golden has plenty to prove this week.

“I just want to prove I can ball,” the Missouri defensive end said on Tuesday. “I’ve got numbers. I’ve played in the SEC. I’ve did it all. I put up big numbers in college and I just want to show that I can really do that, that my film speaks for itself and I just want to come out here and prove it.”

Golden made a good impression during the South team’s practice session on Tuesday afternoon after measuring 6-foot-2 and 255 pounds in the morning.

He took Senior Bowl practice reps lining up at right defensive end and left defensive end and fared well, including in matchups with LSU’s projected first-round left tackle La’el Collins.

Quarterbacks are protected during practices, but Golden would have recorded a sack of Alabama’s Blake Sims during the 11-on-11 team portion later in practice.

Golden could also see reps as an outside linebacker this week. He arrived at Missouri, after a detour through junior college, as a linebacker before making the switch to defensive end for his final two seasons with the Tigers.

“I can play linebacker, too,” he said Tuesday. “I can stand up and rush the quarterback. I can drop back. So I can do it all. It ain’t going to be nothing new to me and I’ll be able to do it.”

Golden, who said he spoke with the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers prior to the formal interview sessions set up for Tuesday night, proved he could be a difference-making defensive end during his final two years at Mizzou.

The St. Louis native racked up 55 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss, eight pass breakups and 6.5 sacks as a junior reserve playing behind SEC defensive player of the year Michael Sam.

As a senior starter, playing opposite projected first-round pick Shane Ray, Golden recorded 20 tackles-for-loss, 10 sacks, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Golden’s road to Mobile from Affton, Mo., took time, but he said Tuesday that this was what he expected of himself.

“I’m hungry,” Golden said. “I already knew this was going to happen. I want more now. That’s how I am. I’m always checking off my goals and I’m always hungry to keep going and getting more. It’s a blessing to be here, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think I could do it. I knew I was going to be in this position. I just have to keep going.”

The Mizzou defensive end is hoping that he’s able to keep it going all the way to becoming a first-round draft pick this spring.

The Tigers have had a strong run of defensive linemen in recent seasons, including Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson, Sam and Kony Ealy, who was a second-rounder in 2014.

“That’s my plan, to be a first-round pick,” Golden said. “I know I have first-round talent. I’ve got first-round stats. I’ve got first-round film. It’s just a blessing to be here; if I don’t go first round, I know I’m going to be in the NFL, I know I’m going to be able to prove myself in the NFL and I know I’m going to be one of the great players in the NFL.

“That’s what it’s about with me. Just keep working hard and keep showing it. Keep playing the Markus Golden way. All the things I learned at Mizzou, all the things I’m going to learn this week, I’m going to put it together and I’m going to get even better.”

Rosters: North South

Practice schedules: Tuesday through Thursday.

Game: Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. (NFL Network)

Related stories:

Senior Bowl: 5 Defensive Players To Watch

Senior Bowl: 5 Offensive Players To Watch

UCLA’s Hundley opts to skip Senior Bowl

You can follow Nate Latsch on Twitter at @NateLatsch or email him at natelatsch@gmail.com



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