49ers training camp: 5 players who must get out to a hot start

Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Aaron Banks #65 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Danny Gray, SMU Mustangs, 49ers
American wide receiver Danny Gray of SMU (5) Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 2: 49ers wide receiver Danny Gray

There are plenty of reasons to be excited about the 49ers’ third-round pick out of SMU, wide receiver Danny Gray, whose blazing-fast 4.33 40-yard time at his pre-draft workouts could mean head coach Kyle Shanahan finally has his field-stretching downfield threat.

In rookie minicamp, Gray showcased some of these skills, and it was looking as if he’d solidify a role immediately as someone who could take the top off opposing defenses.

However, Gray subsequently suffered a hamstring injury during organized team activities and missed the bulk of offseason workouts thereafter.

This means Gray will be a bit behind in his development, and the Niners also watched veteran wide receiver and return specialist Ray-Ray McCloud take over as a possible downfield threat while Gray was absent.

Read More: Ray-Ray McCloud is far more than just a return specialist

From a roster standpoint, Gray is likely safe and won’t have to worry about a pre-Week 1 waiving.

However, unless he winds up impressing early during training camp, there’s a good chance the rookie could be relegated to the back end of the depth chart while McCloud winds up being a larger X-factor.