Missouri had a pass rusher ranked among the nation’s top 12 in 2014, but it might not be who you’d expect.
Markus Golden boasted a 12.1 rating after racking up 61 total pressures — 11 sacks, nine quarterback hits and 41 hurries — among his 402 pass-rush snaps, according to the new College Football Focus signature stats^.
^ It’s important to remember that these stats are based on raw data and do not necessarily correlate to a higher grade for each player. Still, for football fans and NFL draftniks, the newly launched College Football Focus, which is under the umbrella of Pro Football Focus (a site with plenty of juice, as Terez Paylor might say), offers some great stuff.
Golden ranked third among Southeastern Conference edge rushers — trailing only Arkansas’ Trey Flowers, who ranked second overall (14.4) and also had 61 total pressures, and Florida’s Dante Fowler Jr., who checked in eighth (13.0).
Former Tigers defensive end Shane Ray, who is a presumptive top-10 pick in the NFL Draft after shattering the school record with 14 1/2 sacks en route to SEC defensive player of the year honors, checked in 22nd overall.
Golden and Ray both cracked the top 16 in third-down pass-rush productivity.
Golden, a St. Louis native, was 13th overall (14.4) and Ray, a Kansas City native and Bishop Miege graduate, was 16th (13.5).
Both were behind former Kansas State defensive end Ryan Mueller, a St. Thomas Aquinas graduate, who was ranked 11th (14.9).
Ray fared much better in terms of run-stop percentage, where he ranked ninth overall and third among SEC edge rushers at 9.4 percent.
Only LSU’s Danielle Hunter, who was second overall at 12.3 percent, and Flowers, who was fourth (12.1) were better.
Hunter was among the worst players in the class in terms of pass-rush productivity
Ironically, the knock on Ray ahead of the NFL Draft has been his size and whether he’s physical enough to set the edge against the run. The numbers suggest that’s actually a strength of his game.
Golden did not finish in the top 20. Only Flowers, Michigan’s Frank Clark and Louisville’s Lorenzo Mauldin were top-20 finishers in all three categories.