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Missouri DE Markus Golden aims to be next top Tigers DL

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Much is expected of Missouri DE Markus Golden after an impressive 2013 season.

Missouri's Markus Golden already knows he'll be the next Tigers pass rusher to become the primary concern for opposing offenses. With the likes of former Missouri defensive linemen Aldon Smith, Sheldon Richardson and Kony Ealy being chosen in the early rounds of the NFL draft in recent years, Golden would like to join that fraternity, as well.

"That means a lot. You've got a lot of guys like Sheldon Richardson and Kony Ealy, who just kept it going getting drafted in the first or second round," Golden told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Of course, it means a lot to me, because I'd like to be the next guy to come out."

Unlike his predecessors, however, Golden won't have a tough decision to make in whether or not to declare early draft eligibility next January. He'll be a fifth-year senior at Missouri this fall.

Given that he was part of a defensive-end rotation with Ealy and SEC co-Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam last season, Golden's production was surprisingly strong. He actually made more tackles (55) than Ealy or Sam, and his 13 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks ranked behind them as third on the team.

Roughly the same size as Sam (6-foot-3, 260 pounds), Golden could face some of the same questions that hounded Sam in the offseason in regard to whether he is big enough to play defensive end at the next level. Speed, however, appears to be no issue:

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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