On Now
Coming Up
  • Sat., Jan. 20, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFLPA Collegiate Bowl NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California.
  • Sat., Jan. 20, 2018 12:00 AM MST East-West Shrine Game East-West Shrine Game, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • Sat., Jan. 27, 2018 12:30 PM MST Senior Bowl Senior Bowl, Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama.
  • Tue., Feb. 27, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Mon., Mar. 12, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs may negotiate with unrestricted free agents March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
  • Wed., Mar. 14, 2018 2:00 PM MDT 2018 league year and free agency period begin

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

    Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 25, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meetings begin March 25-28: Annual League Meetings, Orlando, Florida.
  • Mon., Apr. 16, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 6:00 PM MDT 2018 NFL Draft begins April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Print
RSS

Fifteen players to watch at Broncos training camp - 4. Shane Ray

Posted Jul 23, 2017

In the wake of DeMarcus Ware's retirement, Ray knows it's time to step forward and become one of the game's elite pass rushers.

Shane Ray's presence on the Broncos stands as an example of why you try to draft the best player on the board, even when his position isn't your most obvious need.

As the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft began, edge rusher was somewhere down the list of priorities for the Broncos. Both Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware were coming off Pro Bowl seasons. Ware had two years left on his contract; Miller had one year remaining as he was playing on a team option, but all signs pointed to a long-term deal that was eventually reached.

Ray was projected as a top-10 pick, but fell. The Broncos pounced, trading up to the No. 23 selection to take him.

Two years later, Ware is retired and Ray is poised to build off a season in which he doubled his rookie sack total (from 4 to 8) and established himself as one of the league's best young pass rushers.

The pressure is on Ray, not just because of Miller's absence, but due to Shaquil Barrett's hip injury. Depth is scarce and unproven behind Ray, making his emergence crucial for the defense's chances of maintaining its league-best performance against the pass the last two seasons.

To prepare for his expanded role, Ray spent part of his offseason self-scouting.

"I just went over all of my film and saw what worked for me and what I did well," he said during offseason work. "I saw what I could have gotten better at. That was just point ‘A’ for me.

"Now I have identified what I can get better at as a player, what went great for me and what I could have done better in coverage or the run game. I have really just taken that and gone day-by-day with it by working on my footwork, my positioning and my technique."

A single number summarizes the desired result of his offseason: One -- as in one sack per game.

"I went back to how I was thinking in college. I said in college my junior year that I can average a sack a game. Nobody can honestly stop me from getting one sack a game," Ray said.

"I look at that in the NFL and honestly I feel the same way. Nobody can block me for a whole game. One sack a game for me is equivalent to 16 games -- that’s 16 sacks. That could lead the league, not to mention playoffs or any of that stuff. That’s how I break stuff down for me and that’s what I’m going to do."

If Ray does that and Miller maintains his usual pace on the other side, the Broncos would likely have the game's most prolific pair of edge rushers, its most fearsome overall pass rush, and perhaps the league's No. 1 pass defense once again.

Of course, that's exactly the sort of production you hope to receive from a first-round talent like Ray.

Shane Ray