At 6 foot 3 inches, and 245 pounds, Shane Ray is built to be a defensive end. Despite some nagging foot problems, he is as fast as he is nimble, and he should certainly help the Broncos in their quest to give opposing offenses a great deal of grief. Ray played his college ball at Missouri, where he was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. He also made the first team All-America status, largely as a result of leading the entire Southeastern Conference in both sacks and tackles for a loss. The accolades do not stop there for Ray, however, as he made the all SEC first team, and was a finalist for the Hendricks Award and a semifinalist for both the Lombardi and Bednarik awards. He knows how to sack, racing up 14.5 in 2014 alone, which was good for a single-season school record, and enough to rank him third in the nation. He is well positioned to do well in the NFL, if he can correct problems with his feet, which largely kept him out of action at the combine.
Graphic via coloradoan
Ray was largely nonexistent at the combine, but did put out some impressive numbers at Pro Day. He ran a consistent 4.64 and 4.5 40-yard dash, has a 33.5 inch vertical jump, broad jumped to 10 feet, had a time of 4.53 second in the 20-yard short shuttle, and 7.71 second in the 3-cone drill. Ray has much strength at his position, starting with his explosiveness. For his size, he has incredible power and he demonstrates passion and purpose as a pass rusher. He has incredible leverage and is able to change direction quickly, which is something the Broncos will need on their aging defensive line. He does, however, lack some strength as an outside rusher, which could be damaging at the pro level. He plays too much with his hands, which will be a rookie mistake if he tries to do that in the NFL. He can also be easily fooled, taking him out of a play and opening up the running lane for the opposing team. Because of this, he will need to add more variety to his game, particularly as it related to the pass rush, if he is to be a consistent starter at the pro level.
In the end, many feel that the Broncos took a gamble in selecting Ray with their first round pick. Most analysts had him going in the second round at the earliest, so the Broncos are showing some real faith in his ability. There were probably some other positions that the Broncos could have gone after that would have more suited their particular game plan, so it will really be a few months before a firm decision can be made as to rather or not this was a good pick.
Graphic via myfantasysportstalk