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Ihmir Smith-Marsette NFL Draft 2021: Scouting Report for Minnesota Vikings WR

BR NFL Scouting DepartmentContributor IMay 1, 2021

Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette carries the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020, in Champaign , Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press


HEIGHT:
 6'0 3/4"

WEIGHT: 181


POSITIVES

— Very good route-runner. Asked to run an extensive route tree from the outside and the slot and shows polish. Good, tight footwork and body control and consistently able to sink and get in and out of breaks. Understands how to use body leverage, shows up when he stacks CBs on Go balls.

— A good and fluid athlete. Plays with great contact balance and core strength (was a water polo player in high school) and can fight through physical DBs despite a skinnier frame.

— Has good short-area quickness, burst and balance. Keeps CBs off-balance with his varied releases and body control and is able to win vs. press. Can make one cut and split a seam quickly with the ball in his hands.

— Very productive on designed run plays for him where he shows off his spatial awareness and quickness. Made the most of all designed plays for him.

— Natural hands, can make the spectacular catch. Comfortable extending for throws (which he had to do a lot with Iowa's QB play). Consistently able to track deep throws over his shoulder or adjust his body for back-shoulder throws.

— Has plus return ability on kickoffs. 

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— Plays with a competitive and tough streak. Attacks throws and wants to win every rep.

                   

NEGATIVES

— Will body-catch throws over the middle, appears natural catching the ball but does have the occasional concentration drop when he's trying to do too much.

— Can initially pull away from defenders but does not have true home run speed.

— Slighter build will leave concerns about durability and whether he can win consistently vs. press. Has releases, but physical CBs might not even let him use them.

— Chooses when to turn it up for blocking.

              

2020 STATISTICS

7 G, 25 rec., 345 yards, 13.8 avg., 4 TD, 7 rushing att., 54 yards, 7.7 avg., 1 TD

                

NOTES

— 2018 Big Ten Specialist of the Year

      

OVERALL

Ihmir Smith-Marsette is a dynamic WR who brings a versatile skill set to an offense and special teams. Smith-Marsette played inside and out for Iowa's base personnel-heavy offense, showing body control and short-area burst throughout his game. He's a very good route-runner, showing he can win on the outside vs. pressed-up CBs with good footwork and quickness as well as in the slot due to his consistent ability to sink and quickly get in and out of route breaks.

He does little things like stacking CBs after he beats them on vertical routes, where he also shows his ability to track throws over his shoulder. He is a natural catching the ball, flashing late hands on deep balls and the occasional one-handed catch, but he will have some concentration drops when he's attempting to do too much. Smith-Marsette was very productive on run plays and screens that were designed for him, showing off his body-control traits with quick cuts getting north and the spatial awareness to see holes develop.

These same traits also show with his good kick-return ability. Smith-Marsette is slight of frame, which will raise questions about his durability and whether he can consistently win vs. physical NFL CBs, but he plays with very good core strength that lets him maximize his wiry frame. That core strength can probably be attributed to his background as a water polo player.

Overall, Smith-Marsette has the potential to be a No. 3 weapon for a good offense. He flashes the ability to impact the game with a traditional route tree from the outside, the short-area quickness needed to win from the slot, and the ability to turn any time he touches the ball into an explosive gain. How consistently he can do these things due to his body type and play strength will determine his NFL trajectory.

GRADE: 7.6/10 (Round 3)

OVERALL RANK84/300

POSITION RANK: WR13

PRO COMPARISON: Emmanuel Sanders

                     

Written by B/R NFL Scout Nate Tice

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