Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus explains how every first round pick from the 2015 NFL Draft has faired through their first three preseason games. I think Broncos fans will like the player who was given the highest grade by Monson.
Denver Broncos rookie linebacker/edge rusher Shane Ray was given the highest grade(+6.2) of the entire 2015 rookie first round class. The next closest rookie is New York Jets rookie defensive end Leonard Williams who has a +2.8 grade.
To put it simply, Ray has been dominant for the Broncos this preseason.
Here's what they had to say about the Broncos impressive rookie pass rusher.
Ray has been a force throughout preseason, and is a little unlucky that second-year teammate Shaquil Barrett is stealing his thunder and doing even better. Ray has a sack in each of his last two games and has graded positively against both the run and pass in each preseason outing. He will have to fight for playing time during the season, but could have a real impact as a situational option.
The emergence of fellow backup pass rusher Shaq Barrett has made some of us overlook how impressive Shane Ray has looked.
Through three preseason games, Ray had totaled 8 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble. He's been solid in run defense and has rushed/hurried the quarterback multiple times as well.
This shouldn't come as a big surprise. If Ray didn't have some off the field issues so close to the draft he figured to be one of the first defensive players to come off the board in this year's NFL Draft. Fortunately for the Broncos, Ray slid down the draft a bit and they decided to trade up and select the talented pass rusher at 23.
Ray will push for playing time behind veteran DeMarcus Ware, and Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips apparently has a package that will get all three linebackers on the field at the same time. Imagine if Phillips can tweak that package to get all four pass rushers on the field at the same time? Oh boy.
The Broncos defense is going to be special this season.