Aug 2, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Lerentee McCray (55) and outside linebacker Nate Irving (56) warm up prior to the start of a scrimmage at Sports Authority Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
With the Denver Broncos’ first depth charts released, it’s time to start looking at some surprises and interesting storylines as we approach the first pre-season game this year.
With Von Miller recovering from ACL surgery, second year linebacker Lerentee McCray — who also made his way back from injury — has taken some snaps with the first defensive unit this offseason. McCray expectedly opened the pre-season as the 2nd in line behind Miller at the SAM linebacker position.
McCray has emerged this offseason and has been consistently making plays at training camp. I saw first hand at the open practice last Wednesday his ability to bend around the edge, blow by offensive linemen, and close on the quarterback.
The Broncos have been working McCray in as Miller’s backup since OTAs, and he has a chance this year to have a real impact as a situational pass rusher and special teams player.
McCray showed off his special teams prowess last pre-season by blocking a punt last pre-season against the St. Louis Rams, and has the type of relentless motor that will earn him snaps in the defensive rotation right away.
He was placed on injured reserve after the Broncos’ final pre-season game in 2013 after looking like the next undrafted player to make the 53-man roster. His ability at Florida was overshadowed by a poor fit as a down lineman in Will Muschamp’s 3-4 defense, but he found ways to make enough plays that the Broncos saw the upside in him as a pass rushing linebacker in a 4-3 defense.
Another score for John Elway and the scouting department.
His pass rush moves improved, fully recovered from injury, McCray is one player that a lot of fans are excited about and should add some really solid depth to a very talented defense in Denver.