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.