Broncos vs. Ravens: Key role players for Broncos in week 1

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Sep 3, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett (48) and linebacker Shane Ray (56) tackle Arizona Cardinals running back Chris Johnson (27) in the first quarter of a preseason game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The highly anticipated week one matchup against the Baltimore Ravens is drawing close, and it’s always fun to take a look up and down each team’s roster before the game to find out what players could play big — perhaps unexpected — roles.

Let’s take a look at five Broncos players who are going to be really interesting to monitor as to what kind of impact they make either as less prominent starters or key players coming off the ‘bench’ throughout this first game.

1/1a. Shane Ray, EDGE; Shaquil Barrett, EDGE

Of course, we’re all excited to see what Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware can do, but as the game wears along and the Broncos need an extra boost in the pass rush, they have the backup bash brothers to bring Flacco to the ground.

Ray, a first round pick, was excellent this preseason, proving that his college production was no fluke and easily getting to opposing quarterbacks. Barrett was the best player on the Broncos this preseason, something that simply can’t be ignored by the coaching staff and a feat that should earn him plenty of snaps as a situational rusher.

Both players are former conference defensive players of the year in college, and both excelled in clutch moments for their respective teams. The Broncos have two very valuable weapons here.

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