Denver Broncos: Breakout Candidate – Shane Ray
The Denver Broncos defense is one of the best. The current team may go down as one of the best of all time. Especially if they are able to continue to keep re-signing their own players. Keeping a corps together is key to great success in the NFL. One of those corps players is LB Shane Ray.
The Denver Broncos drafted Ray in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Many thought this kid could be a top 10 pick. However, due to a marijuana possession charge just days before the draft, his stock slipped. The Broncos did some homework and made Ray their choice. In two seasons he has grown as a player. He has become a significant piece to the Broncos pass rush. All of this while playing behind players like DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller.
In his rookie season, Ray appeared in 14 games for the Denver Broncos. While learning behind some of the games best he acquired 20 tackles and 4 sacks.
During his second season, Shane Ray started coming on. Veteran pass rusher DeMarcus Ware would miss some time with a back injury. This allowed Ray to get more playing. He would take advantage of that time. Ray would finish the 2016 season with 48 tackles and 8 sacks.
2017 could be the year that Shane Ray breaks out for the Denver Broncos. No longer is he having to share time behind Ware. Ware retired following the 2016 season. His retirement has made the starting linebacker opposite Von Miller. Making this pass rush as lethal as ever.
Shane Ray will benefit from playing opposite Miller. Also with the emergence of Derek Wolfe as a solid pass rusher, opposing offensive coordinators and O-line coaches are going to have many sleepless nights figuring out how to block it all.
If Ray can continue to grow in the way that he has over the past two seasons, we could see something special from this player. He has the potential to be a perennial Pro Bowl selection. That all in can start in 2017 with a solid performance. Keep your eye on Shane Ray as a breakout star this season.