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49ers' Vance McDonald enjoyed extra reps

7/25/2014

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Vance McDonald knows the San Francisco 49ers are much better off with Vernon Davis.

But Vance McDonald also knows he benefited from Davis’ staying away from the team in the offseason. Davis ended his holdout and reported to training camp on Wednesday. McDonald, a second-round pick last year, received repetitions with the starters in the offseason and mandatory minicamp. McDonald said it was a good primer for what is like to be a starter.

”It’s almost like the pressure of, ‘You’ve got to step up. This is what we have here. You’re the No. 1 tight end.’ It was a very good start for me,” McDonald said.

McDonald is now behind Davis on the depth chart. Still, the 49ers want to make him a part of the passing offense this season. He had just eight catches last season, and excelled as a blocker.

McDonald stood out in the first day of training camp and the coaches liked what he showed in the offseason.

McDonald said a big part of his evolution is getting used to playing with such a powerful quarterback like Colin Kaepernick.

“You don’t have a quarterback like that in college,” McDonald said Friday. “It’s just a matter of getting reps with him and experience with him. “Timing-wise, you know what to expect now. It’s a 180-mph ball.”