Linebacker Markus Golden (right) signs his rookie contract alongside team president Michael Bidwill
Markus Golden had plenty of time to dream back in 2011, when he made the seven-hour car rides from his native St. Louis to junior college in Hutchinson, Kansas.
His mom and dad would go with him on those trips, and amid the conversation, the outside linebacker's NFL goals frequently came up.
Golden always thought he'd be the rare athlete to make it this far, and it became official on Wednesday when the Cardinals' second-round pick
signed his four-year rookie contract. Defensive end Rodney Gunter, the team's fourth-round selection, also inked his four-year deal.
"It makes it a little personal when you work that hard," Golden said. "All the times people were doubting you and people were thinking you couldn't do it. Just working hard, and my mom helping me, my dad helping me. All three of us put in all the work together."
Gunter and Golden join fifth-round selections J.J. Nelson and Shaq Riddick as the first four draftees to sign. The three unsigned draft picks are first-rounder D.J. Humphries, third-rounder David Johnson and seventh-rounder Gerald Christian, although all could be wrapped up soon due to the slotted rookie pay scale.
While Golden had the opportunity to play at big-time program Missouri following his year at Hutchinson, Gunter came from small Delaware State. He was an under-the-radar find by the Cardinals, and it seems he's still coming to grips with his quick rise to the NFL.
"I've thought about this, but right now I'm just speechless," Gunter said after signing. "I'm so emotional right now."