What 49ers’ Danny Gray is focused on to prepare for when opportunity knocks

SANTA CLARA — 49ers receiver Danny Gray has yet to catch his first NFL pass, but the rookie believes the time is coming.

The speedy wide receiver has been on the field for 33 offensive snaps over five games and has been targeted six times. On Monday, Gray spoke with NBC Sports’ Bay Area and shared how the importance of small details in Kyle Shanahan’s offensive system was a little surprising.

“Most definitely,” Gray said on Monday. “Coming into the league, you know you have to be on your list. Everything is important. How you get off the ball, how you take the first step.

While the Southern Methodist product can’t wait to become a game-changing part of the 49ers’ offense, he understands the importance of putting in the work to adjust to the NFL. Gray realized that small mistakes while in college didn’t have as big of an impact as they did at the next level.

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How all 11 players on the field interact has been eye-opening for Gray, who has caught 82 catches for 1,251 yards and 13 touchdowns in two seasons as a Mustang. Now, the wide man believes that putting in the work every day is helping him realize his goals.

“It’s not overly complicated, but you have to sit down and look at it every day,” Gray said of Shanahan’s playbook. “Even when you think you’ve got it, you still have to see it because it can be challenging at times.

“I would say the details are very important in this offense. Where you line up, where you are, how you run your routes, depth, all that stuff. It’s very important. Everything plays into each other.

Gray looked to veteran Brandon Ayuck for guidance on his NFL path. The third-year wideout not only led the team with 38 catches for 483 yards and four touchdowns, but also set a good example for Gray about how to approach each day.

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“BA helped me a lot,” Gray said. “He’s helped me run my routes, stay consistent, jump off the ball. I watch him every day, how he attacks, every day when I go out to practice, I watch how he adjusts his mind.

After Ayuck’s NFL adjustment was thrown into the fire by an injury at the wide receiver position, his rookie year was delayed into his second season. Gray didn’t have “tough love” conversations with Shanahan like Ayuck did, but he did share how the rookie head coach can be tough on his players.

“It’s because he wants the best out of us and wants us to be the best in the league,” Gray said. “This is what he wants from us and what we want from ourselves. There are no shortcuts. It’s really just going out there and doing our job.

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As much as Gray wants to get on the field and make an impact, he understands the work the rookie needs to do and can play consistently. Gray knows the 49ers could eventually use him with his 4.33-second 40-yard dash speed.

Related: 49ers will make the most of Christian McCaffrey, Aziz Al-Shayer said with confidence.

“I’m actually sitting down and waiting my turn,” Gray said. I know I have a lot of talented guys in front of me right now. There are so many talented guys that I can learn from, help me raise my game, take my game to the next level.

“Just sit back and be patient.”

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