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Cardinals Hope Victor Dimukeje Has Golden Future

Sixth-round edge rusher has similar qualities to veteran linebacker

Duke edge rusher -- now a Cardinals' linebacker -- Victor Dimukeje has the ball after a fumble recovery against Virginia Tech.
Duke edge rusher -- now a Cardinals' linebacker -- Victor Dimukeje has the ball after a fumble recovery against Virginia Tech.

Markus Golden didn't know anything about Victor Dimukeje when the Cardinals drafted the Duke edge rusher in the sixth round.

But then Golden heard that Cardinals GM Steve Keim was making comparisons of Dimukeje's game to Golden's, so the Cardinals' outside linebacker looked up some Dimukeje video.

"I watched a little film," Golden said. "You can tell he's got a high motor and if Steve is comparing you to me, I know you're working hard. If you've got that, I know for sure you've got a shot. You'll put the work in."

Dimukeje puts the work in, whether it was on the field (seasons of 7½ and 8½ sacks in his junior and senior years with the Blue Devils) or off (graduating with a degree in evolutional anthropology.) His mother and sister both nurses, Dimukeje is interested in physical therapy and went to Duke thinking he'd attend medical school, which is still among his long-term goals.

Right now, "I'm just focused on football, playing as long as possible," he said.

That career certainly will be helped, especially early with a brain that's Duke-tested while he learns the NFL game.

"Not a lot of people get the opportunity to attend Duke, and it's a challenging place, both as a football player and as an academic student," Dimukeje said. "It was a grind for me. I will take it as a compliment if coaches expect me to pick up stuff faster."

Intelligence matters, but so does the play on the field. So Keim liked the kid off the edge who, with his passion and his "motor" – a term Keim oft uses with Golden – fits as a potential help on both defense and special teams.

"He's consistent, he's smart," Keim said. "He does all the right things."

That motor, Dimukeje said, is something he's always had. He acknowledged he isn't always loud on game day – that's something Golden has no problem with in-game – "but I always bring energy."

Golden might not have seen Dimukeje before the draft, but Dimukeje knows his new teammate. He watched him particularly when Golden had his stint with the Giants, and knows Golden had a 12½-sack season during his first go-round in Arizona.

He can appreciate being compared to someone like Golden, and when Dimukeje defines what "having a motor" means, it could easily be a Golden quote.

"The motor is just trying to outmatch the will of the guy across from you," Dimukeje said. "I will do whatever I have to do to get the ball and do my job. My teammates are counting on me."

Golden was honored that Keim was willing to use him as comp to a draft pick. It's another reason Golden is glad he's back where he feels appreciated – and where he might have a chance to mentor a player who mirrors his game.

"From Day One, when me and Victor get together, I'm going to help him out with whatever he needs," Golden said. "I'll give him everything I've got, all the tools for him to be successful. When I was a young guy in the league, I had guys like Calais Campbell, Frostee Rucker, Lorenzo Alexander, I could keep going. I had those great guys to help me out, so that's my job, that's my responsibility.

"Steve Keim, I trust him more than anything, so if he says a guy reminds him of me, I take that even more serious. When Victor gets here, I'm going to be here for him."