SANTA CLARA –- Rookie wide receiver DeAndre Smelter is nearing the end of his third and final week of practice before the 49ers must make a decision about his immediate future.
The 49ers must make a decision by Monday whether to place Smelter on the 49ers’ 53-man roster or keep him on the reserve/non-football injury list for the remainder of the season.
Smelter sustained a torn ACL in his left knee during his senior year at Georgia Tech on Nov. 29, 2014, against Georgia. The 49ers selected him in the fourth round of the draft.
“We would love to throw him out there,” 49ers offensive coordinator Geep Chryst said. “We’d love to dress 65 guys and throw him out there and have success with him because I think he’s going to have success. But, we defer back to the medical people. I think he’s made great strides. He looks pretty good out there in practice.
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“It’s probably fair for DeAndre to give him some preseason games to ramp up into it instead of just throwing them in the mix because you want to have growth and you want to feel like the strides that he’s making are real positive.”
Smelter (6 foot 2, 227 pounds) was cleared to begin practicing with the team on Nov. 16 for the first time since coming to the team. If the 49ers activate him, he would gain one year toward free agency, which could help lead the team toward keeping him off the 53-man roster this season.
“His body type is unique,” Chryst said. “It’s different than some of the other receivers. He’s bigger. A little longer arms and bigger hands. But his demeanor is such that I think he’s going to be just fine on some of those shallow cross routes, catching in traffic.
“(We’re) trying to find out in practice if he is an outside receiver. Does he have slot capabilities? But what we’ve found out is I think we’re excited to have him on the team. I think he’s a hard worker. I think he’s excited to be practicing and I’m really excited about his future.”