On February 21, 2017 Niners Live brought you Can Kyle Shanahan Bring out the Best in WR’s Deandre Smelter? And Aaron Burbridge? We now go a step further and single out Smelter in our advanced edition: Could WR Deandre Smelter be the Heir Apparent to Pierre Garcon?
An Ideal Candidate
Entering his third season in the league after being drafted in the 4th round of the 2015 draft out of Georgia Tech, the 6’2 and 227 lb. DeAndre Smelter is a talent waiting to be maximized to his full potential. Smelter caught his lone target in 2016 for a 23-yard gain in a week 17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. It was the first and only catch of his career, but may be a small glimpse of the upside he possesses, and could bring as a feature receiver in the right offensive scheme.
He has an 11-inch hand, “Mug” size, with a physical style of play to go with the perseverance of overcoming injuries. He is a ferocious run-blocker and possesses big play ability waiting to happen. Smelter is a great competitor with high football intelligence that sets himself apart from the crowd (NFL.com).
In 25 games at Georgia Tech Smelter caught 35 receptions for 715 yards, seven touchdowns while averaging a tremendous 20.4 yards per catch, before ending his last season prematurely with a season ending ACL tear. However, the 49ers saw big play ability and made the move to draft him despite injury concerns.
Where he fits best
At the ripe age of soon to be 31 years of age, and on the backside of his career, Pierre Garcon will be relied upon very heavily to be the primary target in Head Coach Kyle Shanahan scheme as pointed out by Niners Live in our Fearless Predictions. Playing in the tough-minded NFC West you would have to believe wear and tear will be a factor at some point for the aging Garcon, and with Smelter being the only other receiver over 6’0 currently on the roster, he could very well be in line to be the Heir Apparent to Pierre Garcon and fill the X receiver position in a perfect scenario.
Are we sleeping on Smelter?
Smelter has been compared to a younger version of former 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin, whose style of play needs no explanation. Standing at 6′ 2″ and 226 lbs., Smelter is an imposing physical specimen with which to contend, and a problem to tackle and bring down. If Shanahan could make the most out of a guy with similar skills sets/physical attributes like Mohammed Sanu, who is 6’2″ and 215 lbs. and had a career high in receptions in 2016 under Shanahan with 59, can you think of the possibilities?
On a Bonus Niners Live Side Note: Niners live also discussed the possibilities of WR Deandre Smelter and Aaron Burbridge making the road to the 53-man roster even that much more competitive with our In Jeopardy report: Featuring “WR Bruce Ellington“.
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the fan and analyst.
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated, but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Co-Author, Editor Niners Live.