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Iowa’s Ihmir Smith-Marsette could give the Chiefs another vertical threat

On the 28th day of Draftmas my true love gave to me, another dynamic wide receiver to add to the tree.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Holiday Bowl - USC v Iowa Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A very Merry Draftmas to you!

We continue our tradition of profiling an NFL Draft prospect every day in April, leading up to the NFL Draft on April 29th. Every day, you’ll get a prospect profile that includes how they would fit with the Kansas City Chiefs.

With the addition of Orlando Brown Jr., the Chiefs can shift from a needs-based draft. Rather than being forced to immediately target the offensive line, they can turn their attention to other gaps — such as the second wide receiver. After Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s wideouts are familiar faces like Demarcus Robinson, Byron Pringle and Mecole Hardman — who haven’t shown the development the team had likely hoped to see. With Sammy Watkins’ departure — and JuJu Smith-Schuster choosing to remain in Pittsburgh — the Chiefs could go after a wide receiver early in the draft.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Holiday Bowl - USC v Iowa Photo by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

6’1” | 181lbs | Iowa

Newark, NJ

Pro Day: 4.43 40-yard dash, 37” vertical jump, 124” broad jump, 7s three-cone, 4.2s short-shuttle, 10 bench press reps.

Expected draft range: Late Day 2

One-sentence bio: A football and track star in high school who was able to earn playing time as a freshman as a receiver and returner.

One-sentence scouting report: A dynamic playmaker with a quality blend of size and speed that makes him dangerous vertically, with the ball in his hands and as a return specialist.

One clip:

How he fits in Kansas City: Trying to find a wide receiver to fit with Andy Reid’s Chiefs is always a bit of a chore. On the one hand, Reid has always fielded one good-sized wideout to be a possession receiver and chain-mover; even when Jeremy Maclin was playing as the X receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chiefs, Reid had a big wide receiver in the rotation. On the other hand, lately, it’s appeared that the Chiefs have ignored size and chain-moving ability, choosing instead to focus only on speed. Determining which skillset will win out is nearly impossible.

With that said, Ihmir Smith-Marsette is absolutely a speedster — despite checking in at over six feet tall. There shouldn’t be expectations for him to have a lot of work as a possession receiver — or even as a red-zone target — but he does show promise in his ability to beat press coverage; despite his smaller frame, he is able to utilize his footwork and quickness to beat aggressive press corners at the line of scrimmage. If cornerbacks don’t get their hands on him, his acceleration and deep speed are a mismatch for too many players — which forces them into aggressive play at the line.

That’s where Smith-Marsette can go — but where is he now? Entering the NFL, he’s still a relatively raw receiver who is most effective while running vertical routes or getting manufactured touches behind the line of scrimmage. In that way, his skillset may seem quite similar to Hardman’s — but he does a good job utilizing his speed threat to set up his hard-breaking routes. His hips are fluid, so he is able to snap off curls and out-routes easily — and generate instant separation when opening up to the quarterback.

In short, Smith-Marsette could profile as a complete wide receiver who focuses on the vertical plane — a player that aside from Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs simply don’t have.

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