Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers rookie Danny Gray prepared for Trey Lance after practicing with “legend” in offseason

Rohan Chakravarthi
May 12, 2022 at 4:24 PM--

San Francisco 49ers rookie wideout Danny Gray spoke with the media for the first time since his draft interview, as he prepared for the 49ers' rookie minicamp, which is slated to begin on Friday.

Gray, who was selected with the last pick in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, 105th overall, is a player with electrifying straight-line speed, which was confirmed with his 4.33 40-yard dash at the combine.

However, Gray's talents aren't limited to just his speed; he works well with the ball in his hands and can be physical after the catch, despite his relatively slight 186-pound frame.

When addressing his skillset, Gray acknowledged the biggest development over his collegiate career was after the catch, where he can utilize his speed and physicality with the ball in his hands.

"I would just say [the area where I improved most at JUCO and at SMU was] getting into open space [and] showing what I can do with the ball in my hands really."

Additionally, Gray's mindset should be a good fit with the 49ers, as he embraces the idea of blocking, which is a key requirement for 49ers receivers, as seen with third-year wideouts Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings.

"Blocking is a big part of the game. No block, no rock."

Coming out of the draft, many questioned Gray's catching ability, pointing to his 12.5% drop rate in 2021, which was scrutinized further after being selected by the 49ers, given quarterback Trey Lance's affinity for high-velocity throws.

However, Gray isn't worried as much about the issue, as he worked out with 49ers legend Colin Kaepernick, who, like Lance, has a hard-throwing arm.

"I worked out with Colin Kaepernick. He has [a bazooka] too. That workout was pretty great, so I think I'm up for the task [of catching fastballs from Trey Lance]."

Gray took somewhat of an unorthodox path out of high school, going to Blinn Community College after being ruled academically ineligible to play at Missouri, where he originally committed.

It was a tough path for the rookie, but he believes the journey has only made him stronger, not only as a player, but as a person.

"Knowing that I was [unqualified] coming out of high school, it kinda hurt me a little bit. [I] felt like I let my mom down [and] my family and friends, but it made me a stronger person, it made me a stronger player, and it made me never be satisfied. Always try to be great in whatever you do."

With his after-the-catch abilities, Gray is excited to be utilized in Kyle Shanahan's offense in 2022, especially after how he saw Deebo Samuel's usage last season, both as a receiver and in the backfield.

"Love his offense, matter of fact. Love the way he uses Deebo. Love the way he uses all of his players on offense. I think I'll fit in pretty good here."

Gray and the rest of the 49er rookies will hit the practice field Friday afternoon for the first time as members of the 49ers organization.

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