Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but Fooch is a crazy person who manages this blog with no rhyme or reason and it's worked so far. Who am I to argue?
The San Francisco 49ers did not go full bore with their injury redshirt strategy in the 2015 NFL Draft, but Trent Baalke could not resist at least one. The 49ers used their fourth round comp pick to select Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter.
The Yellow Jackets leading receiver suffered a torn ACL in late November. He has been rehabbing the injury since. Trent Baalke has said he likely will start training camp on the NFI list, but the team seems optimistic he can potentially contribute his rookie season.
Smelter reminds a lot of people of current 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin. At 6'2, 220 pounds, he's got a similar size to Boldin, and he uses his large frame to shield defenders. He is also a willing blocker.. David Neumann broke down some film on Smelter shortly after the draft, and pointed out some examples of that. His film review also revealed that Smelter's weaknesses coming out of college are his hands and his route running. He has a lot of work to do, but he will get a chance to work with one of the hardest workers in the game in Anquan Boldin.
Nick Chiamardas put together a scouting report on Smelter, and here are a few more:
What to expect in 2015:
This is a tough one. For training camp, look for him to open it on the NFI list when rookies report on Monday for physicals. But how long he remains on the list is tough to say. Given the 49ers history, it might make sense to just let him sit the whole year and spend some quality time with Anquan Boldin. However, Trent Baalke did hint that Smelter could be activated sooner rather than later. If they think he is making sufficient strides in his rehab, maybe they roll the dice. I take Baalke's comments on this kind of thing with a grain of salt, but we'll see what happens in August.
If Smelter were to get off the NFI list this year, I'm not entirely sure how quickly he would emerge as a weapon. After all, this team already has Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, and Bruce Ellington and Quinton Patton will get plenty of opportunities to prove themselves in August. I suppose maybe Smelter replaces the fan favorite Patton, but I'm not sure I see it happening this year. That's one more reason I think the team takes their time getting him back on the field. But again, later August and early September will tell us a lot more.
Odds of making the roster:
Worst case, he ends up on the NFI list. If he is able to prove himself healthy in camp, there is no doubt he will make the 53-man roster this year.