49ers vs. Raiders: 5 Niners who must start 2023 preseason hot

The 49ers head to Vegas this weekend to take on the Raiders to open their preseason. Here's a look at five players who need to step up to secure a roster spot or role for 2023.
San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages
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Danny Gray
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WR Danny Gray

Second year wideout Danny Gray is another player who will benefit from added reps in the preseason. After securing just one catch as a rookie, Gray is out to prove that his draft position was no fluke and that he can make a difference for this 49ers team in 2023.

Gray will have to show that he can add more than just straight line speed, although that ability does set him apart from the rest of the receivers on the roster.

There is a pretty big logjam outside of the three wide receivers who are to be locks to make this team (Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Jauan Jennings), with veterans like Ray-Ray McLoud, Willie Snead, and Chris Conley fighting against younger guys like rookie Ronnie Bell and second-year players Dazz Newsome and Tay Martin for what could be one or two roster spots.

Gray will need to separate himself, then, in order to stand out and make this team, let alone carve out a role for himself. And yes, Kyle Shanahan noted that Gray has shown improvements from last year, but consistency will be the key for the wideout to show his mettle.