WR Smelter gets second chance for first impression with 49ers

WR Smelter gets second chance for first impression with 49ers

SANTA CLARA – Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter is getting a second chance with the 49ers to show them, for the first time, what he can do.

Smelter, a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, sat out his entire rookie season to rehab from a left ACL tear from his final season at Georgia Tech. And the 49ers never got much of a look at him in the offseason and training camp this year because of a right hamstring injury.

After being waived/injured in September, Smelter spent more than six weeks getting healthy and dropping weight from 227 pounds to 210. The 49ers signed Smelter this week to the practice squad to replace Dres Anderson.

“I tried to drop the weight down to make it easier on my body,” he said. “I feel a lot lighter on my feet. Just out there running around, everything is a little easier. I feel smoother out there. Everything feels a lot more effortless.”

Smelter did not work out for any other teams during his time as a free agent. He spent most of his time in the Bay Area getting healthy. He traveled to the Dallas area to work with David Robinson, a trainer who runs D-Rob Sports & Fitness Training with a clientele list that includes Adrian Peterson, Emmanuel Sanders and Reuben Randle.

What did he work on? “Everything,” Smelter said. “I’m new to the position. I’m still learning a lot.”

Smelter attended college on a baseball scholarship before transitioning to football. He played 25 games at Georgia Tech, which runs the triple-option offense. In his final college season, he caught 35 passes for 715 yards and seven touchdowns.

Injury report: 49ers, Buccaneers without their top running backs

Injury report: 49ers, Buccaneers without their top running backs

The 49ers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without their top running backs on Sunday when the teams meet at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

The 49ers on Friday officially ruled out running back Carlos Hyde from participating in the game due to a right shoulder injury he sustained in the 49ers’ 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The Buccaneers also announced running back Doug Martin would be unavailable because of a hamstring injury.

Hyde leads the 49ers with 429 yards and six touchdowns on 109 rushing attempts. Mike Davis and Shaun Draughn are expected to fill in for Hyde. The club is also expected to promote DuJuan Harris from the practice squad to be available.

Cornerback Rashard Robinson is listed as questionable, along with wide receiver Torrey Smith (back) and defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey (knee). Robinson continues to go through the league’s concussion return-to-play protocol.

Cornerback Jimmie Ward has been cleared for action. He is expected to return after a three-week absence due to a right quadriceps strain.

49ers injury report
RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder)

DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
CB Rashard Robinson (concussion)
WR Torrey Smith (back)

Buccaneers injury report
DE Robert Ayers (ankle)
RB Doug Martin (hamstring)
DT Clinton McDonald (hamstring)

Questionable CB Jude Adjei-Barimah (knee)
C Joe Hawley (knee)
DT Gerald McCoy (calf)
WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring),
TE Luke Stocker (ankle)

Slimmed down Davis confident as he prepares to step in for Hyde

Slimmed down Davis confident as he prepares to step in for Hyde

SANTA CLARA -- Mike Davis’ first NFL season left him less than fulfilled.

He broke his hand and did not appear in 10 games. When he did play, his 1.7-yard average led to some whispers the 49ers’ fourth-round draft pick was already a bust.

Davis lived the disappointment. He heard the criticism.

On Sunday, he has his first big chance this season to prove himself. Davis is expected to see significant playing time – and, perhaps, his first NFL start – with Carlos Hyde out of action with a shoulder injury. The 49ers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.

Davis dedicated himself after his rookie season to a body makeover. He swore off Flamin' Hot Cheetos, his favored snack. He dropped from 217 pounds to 205 – his lowest weight since high school. Davis’ body fat dropped from 18 percent to less than 12 percent.

“I feel more confident in myself,” Davis said. “I feel my power is the same. The only thing I feel is really different is the speed and the mindset. My mindset has changed since last year as well.”

Davis opened this season as the 49ers’ No. 3 running back. He rose up the depth chart last week, supplanting Shaun Draughn, as Hyde’s backup. Coach Chip Kelly said Davis has made improvements that led to his promotion.

“Just hitting the hole, timing, making the right cuts,” Kelly said. “You’re burying yourself into the back of the guard or are you working off of the guard’s block and getting yourself to the second level and not getting touched by a linebacker, finishing runs, showing good vision. That’s kind of what you’re looking for in a running back when you’re going through practice.”

Davis carried five times for 13 yards in the 49ers’ 45-16 loss to the Buffalo Bills. In 12 career games, Davis has just 76 yards rushing on 45 attempts.

While Kelly rates Hyde and Draughn as more-accomplished receivers out of the backfield, he noted that Davis has improved that aspect of his game, as well as his pass protection.

“With coach Tom Rathman as your coach, he makes sure we know exactly what we’re doing,” Davis said. “He won’t put you out there if he doesn’t think you can handle it. I just made sure I go through the right steps and make sure I’m prepared into the game.

“I feel confident as ever. With Tom, we spend extra time and he makes sure our eyes are in the right place. That’s one thing we talk about more than anything.”