In recent years, Georgia Tech has produced a number of NFL wide receivers. Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, and Stephen Hill were all high draft picks and posted somewhat similar production in college. While current Yellow Jacket wide receiver Deandre Smelter wasn’t nearly as dominant or physically imposing as the other receivers to come out of Georgia Tech, his Dominator Rating from last season makes him worth investigating. He also has the largest hands in combine history. Smelter should definitely be on your offseason dynasty fantasy football radar.
Smelter was unable to participate in any drills at the combine due to a torn ACL late in the season against Georgia, but he is expected to make a full recovery. He measured in at 6’2”, 226 pounds. Smelter has 325/8” arms and 11” hands. His comps, from Mockdraftable:
Out of the eight players who have played in the NFL on this list, five have produced. Josh Gordon, Larry Fitzgerald, and Demaryius Thomas have all had top five seasons at the wide receiver position. Based on these comparables alone, Smelter’s name is worth remembering.
Smelter initially opted to come to Georgia Tech on a baseball scholarship instead of going pro; he was drafted in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB draft by the Minnesota Twins. This shows how broad Smelter’s athletic talent is.
After sitting out his sophomore season due to a nagging shoulder injury, Smelter tried out for and made the football team in 2013. Though he hadn’t played football for two seasons, Smelter was third on the Yellow Jackets in receiving in 2013, posting 21 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns. While these numbers don’t sound like much, Georgia Tech attempted just 203 passes, compared to 713 rushing attempts. Smelter posted a 0.315 DR in his first organized season of football in two seasons. That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. This season, Smelter lead the Georgia Tech in all receiving categories, posting 35 catches for 715 yards and seven touchdowns. This means that Smelter has a 0.435 DR his senior year, which is very good. Let’s take a look at some comparables for Smelter based on his production in 2014:
Five of the nine receivers who have played in the NFL have posted top 36 fantasy numbers at the position, meaning they were essentially a WR3 or better for at least a season. Again, these are very interesting comparables for a player with little to no hype right now.
If we compare Smelter’s career to some of the other names I’ve mentioned it does become clear that his production is more lacking over the course of his career.
According to Dynasty League Football’s February ADP, Smelter was going 41st overall, or the mid-4th round of rookie drafts. He went undrafted in three of the six mock drafts, but was picked 23rd overall (late second round) in another. Based on the production and measurements of his comparables, the absolute highest upside you could hope for would be something like Andre Johnson or Larry Fitzgerald. Because Smelter is likely to be drafted much later than those former top 10 picks, realizing all of that upside might be a longshot. But Smelter also has the physical profile of a dominant receiver and there’s enough to like for me to use a later rookie pick on him.