ESPN NFL Nation 2015 Mock Draft: Broncos Take Shane Ray


With the 28th selection in the ESPN NFL Nation mock draft, the Denver Broncos and ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold selected Missouri pass rusher Shane Ray.

ESPN is putting on a live NFL Mock Draft where reporters from across their NFL Nation blogs make picks for teams. There are no trades allowed.

There’s no reason why Shane Ray should be on the board at this point, but he is, and Legwold made the right choice. This would be a home run of a pick if the Broncos could dream up a perfect scenario. He’s a flat out great pass rusher.

Bill Polian compared him to Robert Mathis, and this would be worth passing on the offensive linemen available (all of Broncos top targets off the board) and having Ray in a rotation with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware for a year before he would eventually take over for Ware would be a treat to watch.

I got a close look at Shane Ray this offseason in evaluating edge players and having him on the Broncos would be a gift from the rest of the NFL. For whatever reason, reporters in this exercise decided to address other areas but Legwold is right — if you’re staring this kind of BPA situation in the face, you have to pull the trigger.

Watching Ray, I saw one of the best ‘closers’ in college football. What I mean by that is, when you’re in the later stages of the game, and you need a momentum shifting play or a play to cement your victory (as we’ve seen so many times from Von Miller) Ray was the guy who provided that.

There are concerns over his ability converting to the NFL as a linebacker or defensive end. Which one is he?

Those questions don’t necessarily need to be answered right away. The point of the matter is, the Broncos are getting — in this scenario — what I believe to be the second or third best pass rusher in the entire NFL Draft. That’s a huge coup no matter what way you look at it and the Broncos could address other needs later.

They will probably get the best OL/DL or defensive front player with their top pick, and having the opportunity to take the latest great Missouri pass rusher would be something John Elway should not pass up.

The other options here for the Broncos would have been defensive tackle Malcom Brown, who might be coveted by the Broncos, or LSU OL La’El Collins.

Next: Broncos Draft Profile: Zach Zenner, RB, South Dakota St.