MarQueis Gray showed versatility during his collegiate career at Minnesota, as he saw time mostly at wide receiver during his first two seasons before being declared the Golden Gophers’ starting quarterback by new head coach Jerry Kill for the 2011 season. But Gray never fully developed at either spot, and an ankle injury during his senior season led to a move back to wide receiver as freshman Philip Nelson took over under center.
It was not too surprising that Gray went undrafted in April, due primarily to questions over what position he would play in the NFL, but he appears to have found a good situation by latching on with the San Francisco 49ers as a free agent. He is attempting to make the transition to tight end, and during minicamp the 49ers had him working in the tight end/h-back role previously occupied by Delanie Walker, who signed with the Tennessee Titans in free agency.
San Francisco is set up well at tight end, with Vernon Davis clearly atop the depth chart and 2013 second-round pick Vance McDonald looking likely to be No. 2 right now. Garrett Celek is also in the mix for a roster spot, but he had just four catches last season as an undrafted rookie himself.
If the 49ers were not among the best teams in the league, Gray’s chances to make their 53-man roster would be a lot better. But that could also be a blessing for him, since he won’t be forced into an immediate role as he learns the nuances of a new position. I am among those rooting for Gray to find a way to stick in the NFL, and I hope San Francisco at least keeps him on their practice squad this year.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.