22 Sep 2020

Home of the NFL Offseason

Summer Scouting Notes: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, WR, Iowa

Iowa Hawkeyes wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette (6) celebrates after scoring on a kick return against USC in the Holiday Bowl Friday, December 27, 2019 at San Diego Community Credit Union Stadium. (Brian Ray/hawkeyesports.com)

Senior | 6’0” 183 lbs | August 29, 1999 | Newark, NJ

Equal parts deep threat, gadget guy, and kick return specialist with a mix of open-field elusiveness and high-end speed that makes him a perpetual home run threat.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette initially made his mark on the Big 10 during his sophomore season as the conference’s top return man before becoming Iowa’s primary offensive playmaker last year. He lined up both in the slot and outside in the Hawkeye’s pro-style offense and was called “the heartbeat of our offense,” by WR coach Kelton Copeland. Smith-Marsette led his offense in both scrimmage yards and touchdowns.


  • Twitchy burst with the ball in his hands
  • Has deep speed to threaten over the top
  • Has a “fifth gear” when the ball is in the air
  • Great at tracking deep passes
  • First class kick return specialist with open-field elusiveness
  • Gadget guy who can take jet sweeps and screens to the house
  • Understands how to manipulate CB leverage
  • Makes sharp cuts on routes when he has room to breath (facing off-man or soft zone coverage)
  • Shows the ability to run a full route tree

Areas to improve:

  • Needs to add play strength
  • Rarely pulls in passes that test the range of his catch radius
  • Struggles with physicality from cornerbacks
  • Will get knocked off his routes by powerful DBs and LBs
  • Can show a lack of effort as a blocker
  • Has trouble separating from press coverage

Injury concerns: 

Missed two games due to injury in his Iowa career. The Boston College game in 2017 and the Northern Iowa game in 2018.

Way too early projection:

As part of a loaded receiver class, Smith-Marsette should find himself drafted sometime late on day 2 or early on day 3 barring unforeseen improvement or injury. He will add a playmaking element and home run threat to any NFL offense, but will likely struggle early in his NFL career when faced with more press coverage. He’ll be able to step in as a starting kick returner right away as a rookie.

What to watch in 2020:

Can Smith-Marsette add play strength? He has the frame to add muscle, and certainly has had the time to hit the weights during quarantine. If he does indeed get stronger before his senior season, will he in turn become more physical as a route runner and run blocker? Will he improve his ability to release cleanly against press-man? Lastly, how will Smith-Marsette adjust to a new starter at quarterback? Nate Stanley is the only college quarterback he’s ever caught a pass from.

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