Danny Gray Already Justifies 49ers NFL Draft Investing In Him

Danny Gray, the 49-year-old wide receiver, has already turned heads at a junior campground, suggesting the Niners have found a gem in the 2022 NFL draft.

We’re a long way from promoting former SMU wide receiver Danny Gray as the next hidden gem the San Francisco 49ers have found in the NFL Draft.

However, given what Gray has been doing so far in the junior camp, that possibility is still very much on the table.

San Francisco kicked off its inaugural junior camp Friday outside Levi’s Stadium. And while much of the focus was on the 49ers’ first two picks from the draft, USC EDGE Drake Jackson and LSU running back Tyrion Davis-Price, it appears Gray is the one who stole the show the most.

Danny Gray looks the most impressive among the 49ers 2022 NFL Draft class

Again, it’s early. The Niners’ first-year players have yet to encounter well-known professional players yet, and there’s a long way to go before even Gray can finish cementing a place on the 53-player roster.

However, it is good to impress early. The 6-foot, 186-pound pacemaker who ran 4.33 40 yards at the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this spring certainly does.

Here’s what’s file San Francisco Chronicle Eric Branch had to say about Gray from the day the rookie little camp opened:

After Danny Gray dropped a deep pass on Friday, the rookie wide receiver fell to the San Francisco 49ers.

Atonement: 10 compressions.

Clearly, the self-imposed penalty near the start of practice had the desired effect: The third-round pick had a solid performance in his NFL debut on the field during the first day of the 49ers’ rookie junior camp.

After landing during individual practice, Gray had five receptions during a seven-on-seven action, including a neat toe reception down the left sideline and a long snatch over the middle as he beat sixth-round linebacker Tarek Castro-fields.

Gray’s hand was one of the biggest hits in his draft profile, and it’s still unnerving to see this one early on.

However, making up for that with some good work afterwards is a great way to get back on the right track.

49ers have a clear role for Danny Gray if he makes a list of 53 men

The 49 players have their #1 weapon in All-Pro Deebo Samuel, the do-it-all “wide-back” who has become a household name, even if some of it is due to the current standoff with his contract.

In the meantime, third-year professional Brandon Ayok is arguably the Niners’ top choice against men’s cover, while 2020 rookie Jauan Jennings proved to be a reliable third-possession recipient and a physical blocker a year ago.

Read More: Danny Gray Will Thrive With 49 Years More Than You Think

What was required to get into 2022, was a real threat to speed, someone removing the lid on the opposing defenses.

That’s what Gray intends to be, provided he does the cutting.

Gray may not see a lot of goals in year one, and that goes beyond just being a pro in year one. His role may be unwelcome, but it’s a necessary one nonetheless, which may still translate into towering arenas for every reception anyway.

Provided that San Francisco’s second pick in the third round of this year’s draft continues that climb, it will be a role that the 49ers offensive will benefit in a number of positive ways.

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