Desperately in need a veteran edge defender, the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran outside linebacker Shane Ray on May 17, 2019. Ray was selected by the Denver Broncos with their No. 23 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. It was rumored that Baltimore was interested in selecting Ray with the 26th pick, so Denver moved up to the 23rd pick to grab Ray before the Ravens.
After career 14 sacks and two wrist surgeries, the Broncos declined to pick up Ray's fifth-year option allowing him to be a free agent. The Ravens snatched Ray off the free agent heap. It's clear that Ray has talent but circumstances just didn't work out for him in Denver. He believes that coming to the Ravens gives him an ideal opportunity to get back on track.
"There are things people looking from the outside in don't understand, and of course will have negative things to say about my time in Denver but I'm past that. All I can say is God has blessed me with a new opportunity the day before my 26th birthday and I can’t wait to take advantage of it," Ray said on Instagram.
There are plenty of reps to go around now that both Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith are no longer with the Ravens. Suggs signed a free agent deal with the Arizona Cardinals and Smith signed a megadeal with the Green Bay Packers.
Now Ray looks to make himself a threat in defensive coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale's scheme.
Ray showed promise in his last fully healthy season with the Broncos. In 2016, he played 16 games logging eight sacks and 48 tackles in eight starts. Wrist surgery in the preseason led to Ray missing five games in 2018 and he didn't start in any of the 11 games he was active for.
The Ravens are banking on Ray to return to his 2016 form. Baltimore has done an excellent job developing edge defenders over the years. The franchise also prides itself on defense.
A fresh start in a new scheme could get the player who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Unanimous All-American after his final college season at Missouri. The Ravens have already started phase three of voluntary OTAs. Ray didn't waste any time checking in and took part in OTAs on Monday.
Ray once benefited from the tutelage of veterans DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller in Denver. He'll get the chance to pay it forward by being a veteran presence for Ravens rookie edge defender Jaylon Ferguson.