49ers take physical wideout Smelter

The 49ers added Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter in the fourth round of the draft Saturday, who is a candidate to "red shirt" during his rookie season after suffering an ACL injury.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Add former Georgia Tech receiver DeAndre Smelter to 49ers general manager Trent Baalke's list of draftees coming off ACL injuries.

Smelter (6-2, 226) is unlikely to contribute to San Francisco's offense in 2015 after sustaining his ACL tear in November against Georgia. In the Yellow Jacket's triple-option offense that doesn't rely on receivers often, he notched 715 yards on just 35 receptions in in 2014 - averaging over 20 yards per catch.

"I'm about a litte over four months out of my rehab right now," Smelter said. "I'm starting to get around moving and starting to run around a lot. So, it's feeling a lot better."

Smelter initially went to Georgia Tech to play baseball. He pitched - with a fastball clocked as hard as 97 - and played the outfield. But shoulder injuries took his velocity away and he elected to start playing football for the school in 2013. He was drafted out of high school by the Minnesota Twins in the 14th round of the 2010 draft, but wanted to go to Georgia Tech to get an education before taking on pro sports.

In his first season playing football since his junior year in high school, Smelter caught just 21 balls for 345 yards and four touchdowns. But his numbers improved drastically the following season.

"I felt like my production from 2013 to 2014 shows that 2013 was my first year playing football in four years because I didn't play my senior year in high school. That was kind of like a little warmup year," Smelter said. "And then in 2014 I got a full year up under my belt to train and actually work at it. I think that production jump shows. So I feel like I still have a lot more room to grow."

The newest 49ers receiver said he has not started cutting on his injured knee, but has been working out and doing straight-ahead sprinting. The injury prevented Smelter from running a 40 leading up to the draft, but he ran a 6.5 60-yard dash when testing for baseball, which equates to a forty in the 4.35-4.45 range.

He will join a receiving corps featuring Anquan Boldin, whom he believes he compares to favorably in terms of being a physical receiver who plays well with the ball in his hands.

"I know (Boldin) is a big, physical receiver that plays the game the way it should be played. I'm planning on learning a lot from him," Smelter said.

Boldin is entering the last year of his two-year, $12 million extension he signed before last season. The 49ers added Torrey Smith in free agency in March, who signed a five-year, $40 million deal, and will have former fourth-round picks Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton under contract to compete with Smelter when he's healthy in 2016.

Next story:

49ers add RB Davis in fourth round

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