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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers top draft picks impressing early at camp

Jul 31, 2022 at 3:30 PM--

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It's always exciting to watch rookies enter their first NFL training camp. Just a few months ago, they were hearing their names called as they walked across the draft stage. Now, the draft hype has died down and they are entering unfamiliar territory as they attempt to take the gigantic leap from the collegiate level to the NFL.

So far, the 49ers should be encouraged by how their top draft picks have entered camp and handled their new competitive environment with maturity and a desire to not only earn a roster spot, but to become a contributing factor in the upcoming season.

Here is a quick look at how the top rookie performers have done in camp.

Drake Jackson, DE (2nd Rd, 61st overall)

Drake Jackson has shown up to camp in terrific shape and is already making his impact felt on the field. He has a quick first step and a natural athletic ability to get to the quarterback. On the third day of camp, he beat his blocker and got into the backfield to record a sack. He is a mismatch nightmare for the 49ers backup offensive line and has put constant pressure on 49er quarterbacks, earning praise from coaches and teammates. With the release of Dee Ford, Jackson will have a great opportunity to carve out a permanent role on the edge and work opposite Nick Bosa in passing situations.

Tyrion Davis-Price, RB (3rd rd, 93rd overall)

Ty Davis-Price has brought a new and exciting element to the 49ers running game. He attacks running lanes head on and his style has best been described as violent. He is a downhill and physical running back with great vision, who has displayed his ability to explode through lanes to pickup up significant yardage. Price has shown himself to be a decisive runner who can make a single cut and accelerate up the field. His aggressive style will mesh well with Kyle Shanahan's offensive concepts, and he will challenge Trey Sermon for the 49ers second running back position behind Elijah Mitchell.

Danny Gray, WR (3rd rd, 105th overall)

Danny Gray's explosive speed has been the talk of camp. He is a vertical threat which was on full display when he caught a 45-yard pass from quarterback Brock Purdy on day two of camp. Gray has also been involved in the running game, running a jet sweep in practice, indicating how the 49ers would like to utilize his speed in various ways. Gray also appears to understand the importance of reps as he has been seen staying late after practice to work on executing routes and developing timing with 49ers starting quarterback Trey Lance. Gray will compete for the fourth wide receiver spot behind Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Juan Jennings.

It will be interesting to see if these rookies can keep up this impressive level of play for the duration of training camp. The 49ers will have their first padded practice on Monday.

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