2015: Denver Broncos select OLB Shane Ray
Shane Ray did not play for an NFL team in the 2019 season and is currently a free agent, which is a good metaphor to wrap up this list of recent 23rd overall picks. Engram has been the most productive, but aside from that, so far the rest of the picks have been disappointing in their career.
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Ray was a rotational linebacker for the division-rival Denver Broncos for four seasons, so Charger fans are quite familiar with his namesake. Ray actually had some years where he started to show that potential and looked like he was going to be a fixture of the defense for years to come.
That is not what ended up happening but he has one really good season, 2016, that showcased his potential. Ray started a career-high eight games that season and recorded a career-high eight sacks and 48 tackles. He had six more tackles for loss and 21 quarterback hits that season.
After posted four sacks as a rotational linebacker that only played in 31 percent of the defensive snaps his rookie year, it looked like Ray was well on his way to a solid career with the Broncos.
He missed half of his third season and only recorded one sack in his eight games played and appeared in 11 games his fourth season, not starting any. He appeared in a career-low 24 percent of defensive snaps in his fourth season.
Ray signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 season but was waived during the preseason. No team picked him up for the 2019 season and with him still being a free agent, it is probably safe to say that his NFL career is over.
Hopefully, Kenneth Murray can have a better career with the LA Chargers than these other 23rd overall picks. They all had a lot of potential, like Murray, but just didn’t pan out.