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From one first-rounder to another: Shane Ray reaches out to Paxton Lynch


ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --Few people know more about the steps Paxton Lynch will take in the coming months than Shane Ray.

Their experiences won't be exactly the same; the spotlight on a quarterback like Lynch is different than it is for Ray at outside linebacker. But both were first-round picks so coveted by the Broncos that they traded up five spots to select them.

Ray said he spoke with Lynch this week about the expectations that a first-round pick faces.

"I told Paxton to just kind of take it day-by-day. That's all you can really do as a rookie, with all the pressures that you're going to have being a leader of your rookie class," Ray said.

But while first-round picks are the natural leaders of a rookie class, they then must defer to veterans at their position group as they learn how to be professionals. Just as Ware listened to DeMarcus Ware, Von Miller and others, Lynch will listen to Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian.

"Paxton's expectation is to come in and play along with Mark and take his tutelage," Ray said. It's going to bring its own kind of stresses. He just has to relax, take it day by day, take the culture, and embrace the rookie experience, have fun and love your job."

That means loving it despite of the burden of lofty expectations that will be placed upon his shoulders.

"Last year, I felt a lot of heat, and I had to learn how to tune everything out and just focus on being the best player that I could be, and I'm just glad I'm able to have that knowledge and get to talk to incoming rookies about my experience, and hopefully help them with their learning curve."

One of those rookies in particular is guard Connor McGovern, a fellow Missouri product who was in the same recruiting class as Ray.

"He's a weight-room animal, and he does everything the coaches ask of him," Ray said. "He's coachable, he's smart. So I'm looking forward to seeing what he does for this team."

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