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Honest First Impression of Danny Gray

For starters, Gray is extremely fast.

Immediately after the 49ers drafted Danny Gray in Round 3, I compared him to another wide receiver they drafted recently -- Dante Pettis.

That was way too harsh.

The 49ers traded up to draft Pettis in Round 2 of the 2018 draft, and he was a bust because he's not big, not fast and not tough -- all of that was clear after just one rookie minicamp practice.

Gray had his first rookie minicamp practice in front of the media last week, and it's obvious already that he's better than Pettis.

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For starters, Gray is extremely fast. He is a legitimate deep threat -- he even caught a 50-yard touchdown pass during practice. He got five targets in all and caught four of them. He was clearly the best wide receiver on the field, and probably the best player participating in 7 on 7s. As he should have been. He's a third-round pick playing with other rookies and undrafted free agents.

Before we know just how good Gray can be, we need to see him face the 49ers' veteran cornerbacks in training camp. We need to see Gray play 11-on-11 scrimmages, not just 7-on-7s. We need to see him catch Trey Lance's fastballs, not just Brock Purdy's wiffle balls. 

But after one tremendously successful rookie minicamp practice, it seems fair to expect Gray to develop into a quality backup wide receiver who could start in a pinch -- think a taller Marquise Goodwin. That's a reasonable expectation for Gray's career. Remember, he was the 17th wide receiver drafted this year. If the 49ers expected him to become a star, they would have taken him sooner.