ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Usually Shane Ray chases a quarterback down solely to toss him to the ground.
But the Denver Broncos outside linebacker sought out one of his newest teammates this week -- rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch -- just to offer a nugget or two of advice about being the Broncos’ top pick. The Broncos traded up five spots in the first round of this year’s draft to select Lynch, at No. 26 overall, while they had traded up three spots in the first round of the 2015 draft to select Ray at 23rd overall.
"(We talked) about just what is it like to be a first-round pick and have the expectations that you’re going to have," Ray said. "In this program, this organization, when you’re a first-round pick, across the board, everybody has huge expectations of you to contribute to help this team."
Ray came to a team that had won four consecutive AFC West titles at that point to go with a Super Bowl trip to close out the 2013 season and said he felt the pressure of those expectations almost from the moment he walked into the Broncos’ complex. Lynch finds himself on a team that has ratcheted those expectations even a little more given it won its fifth consecutive division title to go with Super Bowl 50.
"That’s something as far as last year, I felt a lot of heat, I had to learn to tune everything out and just focus on being the best player that I can be," Ray said. "... I told Paxton 'just kind of take it day by day,'" Ray said. "... He just has to relax, take it day by day, take the culture in, embrace ... just being a rookie, the experience, just love your job."
Lynch and the rest of the Broncos’ rookies attended a two-day minicamp this past weekend, then joined the rest of the team Monday and will take part in the remainder of the team’s offseason workouts.
For his part, Lynch has already spoken of the importance of a get-to-work, day-by-day approach.
"My job here is to come in and come to work every day," Lynch said after the Broncos had selected him. "Day in and day out, give everything I’ve got, compete with those other quarterbacks -- and I know they’re ready to compete as well. I’m going to do whatever I have to do to help this team win ball games, whether that’s playing or pushing the guy in front of me."
Ray’s rookie season was a bumpy ride on the learning curve at times as he arrived to the Broncos still recovering from a foot injury he had suffered in his final game at Missouri and he missed two games with a knee injury.
He played 341 snaps last season -- 34 percent of the snaps -- and finished with 20 tackles and four sacks.