Former first-round NFL pick, pass rusher Shane Ray signs with Toronto Argos

Photo courtesy: Denver Broncos

The Toronto Argonauts have signed former first-round NFL Draft pick Shane Ray, per sources.

It’s a two-year contract for Ray through the 2022 CFL season. The Argos put Ray on their exclusive negotiation list on Friday, December 11.

Ray was selected in the first round, 23rd overall by the Denver Broncos in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was viewed as a surefire top-ten pick, but a marijuana possession citation saw him fall down the board.

As a junior in 2014 for the University of Missouri, Ray notched 65 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, and forced three fumbles in 14 games. He was named the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the year and unanimous All-American. That’s why scouts felt Ray could make an instant impact in the NFL.

The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 in Ray’s rookie year. He played in 14 games during his first season, making 20 tackles and four sacks while earning an NFL championship ring. He improved during his second, recording 48 tackles, eight sacks, recovering two fumbles and returning one for a touchdown, and forcing one fumble.

After his standout sophomore season, doctors uncovered a torn wrist ligament, which required surgery and had a six-to-eight week recovery timeline. He was placed on injured reserve to start the 2017 season. Ray was activated in October but placed back on IR following a third surgery on his wrist, which ended his season.

Denver declined to pick up Ray’s fifth-year contract option in May 2018 and one month later he underwent another wrist surgery. That sidelined Ray for three months and kept teams away from him for the entire schedule.

Baltimore brought Ray to training camp in 2019, but he was released during final roster cuts. His stint with the Ravens is the last time Ray was with a pro franchise.

Through 49 career NFL games, Ray has 94 tackles, 14 sacks, two forced fumbles, two recovered fumbles, two pass deflections and scored one defensive touchdown, making 15 starts. Over his time in the NFL, Ray has earned over $9.3 million dollars.

The six-foot-three, 245-pounder has the skill set to thrive in the CFL if he can learn to play on the bigger field.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.