Missouri Tigers’ Shane Ray Selected in First Round by Denver Broncos


After the Denver Broncos traded up with the Detroit Lions to acquire the 23rd overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, they selected former Missouri Tigers pass rusher Shane Ray. Ray was a breakout performer in 2015, starting for the first time following the departures of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam and taking full advantage, leading the SEC with 14.5 sacks and winning the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award.

Ray, who played defensive end at Mizzou, will presumably transition to outside linebacker in the NFL, as the Broncos will be switching to a 3-4 defense this season under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips. The Broncos still have both Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, though Ray will presumably see action as a situational pass rusher this season and prepare to be Ware’s eventual replacement. It’s a good situation for Ray, who won’t be immediately cast into a starting role as his body continues to fill out. Ray weighed in at the combine at 245 pounds and probably will need to put on five to ten more pounds in order to be an every-down pass rusher in the NFL.

More from Missouri Tigers

Assuming that Ray’s fellow starting end, Markus Golden, is taken at some point this weekend, defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski will have sent his entire four-man defensive end rotation from the 2013 season to the NFL, as Ealy and Sam were both selected in last year’s draft.

Obviously, this is a great opportunity for corny humor, as Ray was arrested earlier this week for the possession of 35 grams of marijuana. Though Ray will have to comply with the NFL’s drug policy, he’ll now get the opportunity to play in Denver, where marijuana is legal.

Next: Rams Select Todd Gurley with 10th Pick of NFL Draft