AnalysisFootball changed everything for Ray. He used the sport to stay out of trouble as a kid and now embarks in a career as a professional. Credit his high school coach, Tim Grunhard. Now Ray’s a coveted rush end or outside linebacker, depending on scheme. He’s got speed and strength off the edge to be an elite pass rusher. Ray can also make plays down the line showing his outstanding agility. At times he’s explosive, showing a great get off and closing speed for a big man. Ray only started 13 games at Missouri yet still posted 19 career sacks, 29 pressures and 36 tackles for a loss.
Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation
Chicago, IL—John Elway spent much of his Thursday evening trying to make a move. According to Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt, Elway “aggressively” tried to move from the Broncos No. 28 overall selection into the No. 19 spot held by the Cleveland Browns.
The Broncos ultimately traded the No. 28 pick, the No. 143 pick, a future fifth round selection, and offensive lineman Manuel Ramirez, to the Detroit Lions for the No. 23 pick, selecting defensive end Shane Ray from the University of Missouri. As draft trades go, this deal is about as good as you can get for Denver. The Broncos gave up essentially nothing to select a player who could be this draft class’ most revered pass rusher.
Manny Ramirez has been a versatile lineman for this team, but some believed he was unlikely to make the team out of training camp. Getting value for a player you’re going to cut anyway is the kind of thing good teams do. However, the player they moved up for isn’t without controversy.
There’s no doubting Shane Ray’s abilities on the field, but there’s plenty of reasons to question his head. Ray was cited for misdemeanor possession of marijuana last Monday, just three days before he was expected to be a top-10 draft pick. Instead, that incident, combined with a poorly timed toe injury, spooked NFL GMs, allowing Ray to fall into the early twenties.
Elway wasn’t spooked. He made the right call, selecting a gifted pass rusher who adds depth to the defensive rotation in the short term, and can be a stalwart along Denver’s front seven in the future. In the process, he shed Ramirez’s $1.4M salary.
Elway and company will be able to use the next two days to fill needs along the offensive line, defensive line and the linebacker corps. For tonight, they selected a game-changing player with tremendous upside, and gave up next to nothing to do it.
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