San Francisco 49ers second-year wide receiver DeAndre Smelter has been plagued by injury this offseason and limited during the team's offseason program and parts of training camp. After spending his rookie season recovering from surgery to repair his torn ACL, Smelter is an unknown commodity for the 49ers. Early on, he drew comparisons to Anquan Boldin, who is now with the Detroit Lions. Smelter's 11-inch hands were the largest of his draft class and he has the size to be a physical threat at receiver for the team.
When he has played, the media has been impressed by him, going as far as to (at one point) name him as an emerging candidate for the team's starting wide receiver spot across from Torrey Smith. That sort of talk has simmered down since then.
We may not see Smelter during the early portion of preseason either, making his spot on the team very questionable. 49ers head coach Chip Kelly briefly discussed Smelter on Monday.
"Smelter's more of a week-to-week than a day-to-day," said Kelly. "With Smelter, I don't think we'll see him this week. Hopefully we'll get him back." The 49ers will be traveling to Denver this week to practice with the Broncos and then play against them on Saturday.
When asked if his injury was related to that of the one he was battling during the team's offseason program, Kelly stated that he was not sure what he was experiencing then and simply said, "I don't have an answer on that one."
Smelter was a fourth round selection out of Georgia Tech in 2015. In 2014, he had 35 receptions for 715 yards and seven touchdowns through 10 games at Georgia Tech. That's an impressive average of over 20 yards-per-catch.
"At 220-plus pounds, Smelter is by far the most powerful receiver on the squad and he looks it when he's on the field," said Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee during the early days of training camp. If Smelter doesn't get onto the field soon, the powerful receiver's job may be in jeopardy.