PITTSBURGH — If you looked at who the Steelers outside linebackers are right now, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith would be the obvious ones. Then, the upstart rookie Nick Herbig, who is proving to be an early riser with two strong preseason performances, has taken the entire defense by storm. The “phenomenal” one, as called by Watt, is pushing for playing time already as a rookie. But that has seemingly left everyone to forget one key name, that being Markus Golden.
The Steelers’ veteran backup pass rusher is a completely different player from Highsmith and Watt. Even compared Herbig, who is another freak athlete, Golden goes against the Steelers’ mold. Instead of being an elite athlete, he is more of a junkyard dog that wins through pure technique. Golden, the proud owner of 47 career sacks, is a power-first player that is a plus run defender on top of that plus pass rusher potential. Back in OTAs when he first signed, Golden was thought to be the main insurance should an injury occur, and he was willing to embrace whatever role came his way.
“I know how football is. You can sit here and tell somebody anything. At the end of the day, I know how football is,” Golden said. “Anything can happen. What I’m going to do is go hard every day, come to work every day, and learn from these guys. When the time comes, whether I play one play or if I play 30 plays, I’m going to go hard on all those plays.”
Markus Golden with the pressure that draws the hold and what a throw by Allen lol. pic.twitter.com/asgAoKU2Ag
— Nick Martin (@themicknartin) August 19, 2023
Against the Bills, Golden’s bull rush stunned Spencer Brown backward and it would have been a sack had Brown not held Golden on his way to Josh Allen. In a number of other ways, just like his debut against the Buccaneers, Golden held a strong edge and make plays in the running game. Nothing has changed with Golden, he is just a little bit less flashy than the other three. But that’s why they call him “Junk,” short for “Junkyard Dog”. He is a tone-setter who brings the perfect skillset to complement the other three in the room.