The moment Bradley Chubb fell into the Denver Broncos' laps at the No. 5 spot in the 2018 draft, the N.C. State product was going to push Shane Ray for playing time. Ray's latest hand injury ensured the rookie would get the edge on the starting gig.
With Ray expected to miss three months following another wrist surgery, Chubb will open this week's mandatory minicamp working with the starters.
"I know Shane's going to do everything to get back as fast as he can," Chubb said Monday, via the team's official website. "And when he gets back, we're going to definitely need him. If that causes me to step up or ... into a certain role, I'll be prepared for it."
Chubb reportedly spent most of OTAs with the second team behind Ray, rotating in with the starters in the pass-rushing package. With Ray's timeline putting the start of his season in doubt, Chubb's acclimation to the first-team unit is likely to be fast-tracked.
"When the game is so much faster by being with the vets and being with the guys who have been doing it for eight to 10 years, you have to have a sense of urgency," Chubb said. "When I take reps with the ones, I feel like that helps me out learning a little bit better. There's no, 'Hey, what do I [have] on this play?' Because those guys, they expect me to know it."
Chubb's presence lessens the blow of Ray's injury. With Von Miller, Shaq Barrett and Chubb as edge rushers, Vance Joseph's defense has more than enough firepower to rankle quarterbacks.