5th year veteran who played in all 16 games of the 2019 season for the first time since 2016. He racked up 10 sacks, and was the first Giants OLB to post a double-digit sack season since Lawrence Taylor. He was featured in James Bettcher’s 3-4 scheme in both Arizona and New York. With a lengthy injury history, Golden had not played over 70% of a team’s defensive snaps since the previously mentioned 16 games he played in his sophomore season back in 2016. This year, Golden, in a 1-year prove it deal, played 83% of the Giants’ snaps, 12% more than his 2016 campaign.
Good weight and athleticism for the position to bend around the EDGE, or to loop back inside and accelerate through inside gaps. Plays low with good pad level and maintains good leverage upon initial contact. In the run game, does a solid job against Tight Ends setting the hard EDGE and forcing the ball carrier inside. Good motor when he’s fresh; continues his pursuit and works hard through traffic and inside gaps against bigger OL and double-teams.
Adequate length with adequate length in his arms. Doesn’t play with length, and relies on getting into the body of the OL, and using momentum or speed to win his 1-on-1. Adequate pass rush plan; primarily tries to win off speed and leverage around the EDGE, and lacks a go-to move or counter move. Adequate use of hands: doesn’t use his hands to get separation, and on a bull rush, gets into the OL chest and can’t push himself free and doesn’t allow himself to play with length. Adequate job setting a hard EDGE against OT; doesn’t get his hands in the right place, and occupies space on the EDGE.
Golden’s 2019 contract only ate up 2% of the Giants’ cap with a hit of $3.75M, and his numbers may indicate the 27-year-old will get his final big contract, but the Giants defense was bad, and living in NJ, it was all you heard. Of all things, the Giants lacked depth on defense, and at times, had 240lb EDGE rushers playing 3 technique when the interior DL were gassed. To me, Golden will cash-out with any team. The Giants love their continuity in some obscure situations, but this should be someone who they let walk, and replenish via draft. Given his injury history, recent production, and primary 3-4 scheme fit, Golden’s value might be considerably less amongst other teams. If this is true, he could see a return to NY if the money isn’t there around the rest of the league. If he were to receive $9M-$11M per, teams like Houston, Jets, or possibly even Buffalo could be a long-term fit for Golden.