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5 Things to Know about 49ers WR DeAndre Smelter

Posted May 6, 2015

The San Francisco 49ers added this Georgia Tech product in the fourth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Get to know more about him.



For the third consecutive year, the San Francisco 49ers drafted a wide receiver in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.

For the 2015 selection, general manager Trent Baalke tabbed Georgia Tech wide receiver DeAndre Smelter as the latest day-3 perimeter pickup. Smelter joins a 12-man wide receiver group on the 49ers roster, a unit that includes fellow fourth-round selections Quinton Patton and Bruce Ellington in the 2013 and '14 drafts, respectively.

In order to get to know Smelter on and off the field, we bring to you five things you should know about San Francisco's latest wideout draftee.

1. He has the largest hands in the 2015 draft.

In the business of catching footballs, this physical trait is hard to overlook.

Smelter's size 11 hands were one of the many reasons why the 49ers picked him up with the 132nd overall selection. In case you were wondering, the average American male has a hand size of 7 1/2 inches.

Following the 2015 draft, Baalke explained how Smelter and his mitts got on the team's radar.

“He's big. He's physical," Baalke said. "He can block. He can run after the catch. He's got huge hands, size 11 hands. He's a physical wide receiver."

Smelter's hands are a full inch larger than Odell Beckham Jr. of the New York Giants, the 2014 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year. Beckham Jr. required size-4XL gloves. Smelter will likely need something bigger.

2. He is known for his big-play ability.

Georgia Tech's triple-option offense limited Smelter's targets in the passing game during his years in the ACC (2013-14). But even though he was a limited cog in coach Paul Johnson's scheme, Smelter was able to make the most of his opportunities.

As a junior in '13, Smelter gave up his dreams of playing baseball and played football for the first time collegiately. He totaled 21 receptions for 345 yards and four touchdowns. More on his first touchdown grabs can be found at the end of this story.

Smelter played 12 games in 2014 before suffering a season-ending ACL tear on Nov. 29 against Georgia. He caught 35 passes for 715 receiving yards, with seven touchdown catches and an average of 20.4 yards per reception. Smelter started the season with three consecutive 100-yard receiving games and later added a 75-yard rushing touchdown in a blowout win over North Carolina.





3. He was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 2010.

Smelter is one of three current 49ers to be drafted into the NFL and Major League Baseball (Colin Kaepernick and Blake Bell).

The 49ers wideout was drafted in the 14th round in 2010, but he decided to play collegiately before pursuing his MLB dreams. Smelter became the Yellow Jackets' top relief pitcher, topping out at 97 mph on the radar gun. He allowed one run in 17 1/3 innings in 2011. Smelter seemed destined for a big-league career, but a nagging shoulder injury caused him to quit playing baseball. Smelter's velocity was simply not the same and his shoulder issues remained. He did, however, possess unique athleticsm and a desire to compete.

That's when Smelter decided to play football at Tech.

If not for the injury, the 49ers wide receiver could have been a professional baseball player.

"I hate that he tore his ACL," an NFC area scout told NFL.com. "We throw the phrase 'athlete' and 'competitor' around quite a bit in this business, but he embodies that. If he hadn't had a shoulder problem, I think we would be talking about him as a major leaguer right now."

Take a look at the Bo Jackson-like Smelter on the diamond:





4. He knows how to run block.

Anquan Boldin would approve of Smelter's run-blocking film.

Playing for a run-heavy offense in college has prepared Smelter for springing his NFL teammates for big runs. Smelter has a knack for delivering contact and using every bit of his 6-foot-2, 227-pound frame.




5. He turned his first two catches into touchdowns.

Two for two.

That's how Smelter began his NCAA football career. Smelter caught 24- and 10-yard touchdown passes in a 38-14 road victory over Duke.

“I was just looking to make my first catch, and to have my first two catches go for touchdowns was great," Smelter said. "Probably the best part about it after was celebrating with my teammates because they all knew what I had been through with baseball and everything. To be able to help them win was a great thing.”

Smelter's football journey was covered prior to his senior season in this YouTube clip:


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