SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- To say Denver's midseason acquisition of tight end Vernon Davis proved underwhelming is being kind.

Davis' former San Francisco 49ers teammate believes that lack of productivity will change in Super Bowl 50.

Tight end Vance McDonald said he expects Davis to make an impact Sunday against Carolina after not having caught a pass in the past four games.

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"He hasn't been too involved these past couple weeks," McDonald told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "Granted, he was joining an offense late in the season and there's the difficulty of the transition.

"I have the feeling he's going to get past one of those safeties in the game and (the Broncos) are going to plug it to him and he's going to make a big play. I hope that happens."

McDonald became the biggest beneficiary of the deal that sent Davis to the Broncos for 2016 and 2017 sixth-round draft choices. McDonald caught far more passes in San Francisco's final eight games (23) than in his first two seasons combined (10).

McDonald admits he might not have taken that step had Davis remained with the 49ers.

"Not to say I'm not confident with my game," said McDonald, a 2013 second-round draft pick. "But (the trade) definitely gave me that boost of confidence and the trust from the team and organization that I wanted and was looking forward to."

McDonald is hoping that 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick can now regain his mojo under new head coach Chip Kelly. Kaepernick was benched midway through last season before landing on injured reserve.

"I'm not saying we don't all do it, but that guy just beats himself up over making a mistake harder than anyone else," McDonald said. "I'll be the first to always step up and say I'm right there in his corner. Any time he has a bad game or bad taste in his mouth or makes a bad play, I just want that guy to understand his potential because he can be a tremendous player."

Unlike what Davis has shown so far with the Broncos.