A Dallas native who played the best football of his college career with a hometown team, SMU receiver Danny Gray will head west to San Francisco. The 49ers selected Gray with the last pick of the second day of the draft on Friday night in Las Vegas.
Gray played his first two college seasons at Blinn College where he quickly became one of the nation’s top JUCO recruits. In 2020 after transferring to SMU, he quickly showed his ability to do a little bit of everything at the FBS level by playing receiver, returning kicks, and even had three carries for thirty yards and two rushing touchdowns.
As a senior in 2021, Gray started all 10 games played and totaled 49 catches for a team‐leading 803 yards (8th in the AAC) and nine TDs. Gray averaged 80.3 yards per game, 16.4 yards per catch and 4.9 receptions per game. He had two 100‐yard receiving games that season and opened the season with a receiving TD in five straight games. Gray further showcased his all-purpose abilities with three multi‐receiving TD games, rushed for 40 yards off three carries, and led the team with 843 all‐purpose yards. In the Mustangs’ contests against TCU and Tulane, Gray posted a pair of 100‐yard all‐purpose games.
At the combine, Gray turned in a 4.33 40-yard dash, which tracks with what he was able to do after the catch in college. Based on what he’s shown, it would make sense for Gray to become a decent add at the next level, particularly in sets that feature three or more receivers. He might not be able to overpower the NFL’s bigger corners, but he has the agility to sneak downfield while defenses are preoccupied with bigger targets.
As Deebo Samuel looks to be on his way out in San Francisco, it actually makes sense that the 49ers are looking for another player that can play that receiver/running back hybrid style. One interesting difference, however: Samuel outweighs Gray by about 40 pounds.