Reporter Designates WR ‘to Monitor’ for Unexpected

Getty Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette with the Minnesota Vikings in 2021.

When the Kansas City Chiefs picked up wide receiver/special teamer Ihmir Smith-Marsette in October of 2022, the move flew under the radar as a relatively unassuming transaction. And yet, the 23-year-old has managed to stick around inside the organization over some bigger names like Bryan Edwards since then.

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There’s a reason for that — according to USA Today Chiefs Wire media member Charles Goldman — who recently tweeted that Smith-Marsette “is definitely a player to monitor in the WR5/6 competition for the Chiefs as the offseason progresses.”

That roster battle would likely feature fellow wideouts like newcomer Richie James, second-year prospect Justyn Ross, former draft pick Cornell Powell, veteran John Ross, jack-of-all-trades Jerrion Ealy, Ty Fryfogle and potentially, a mid-to-late round rookie or current free agent WR Justin Watson if he’s re-signed.

Chiefs WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette Elevated for 2 Games in 2022

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As is the case with most KC youngsters, Smith-Marsette practically redshirted his first half-season inside head coach Andy Reid’s system. Fans witnessed a similar transition with trade acquisition Kadarius Toney and second-round pick Skyy Moore, so it’s not surprising that the former Minnesota Vikings fifth rounder got this treatment too.

In the end, he was only elevated for two games, logging 12 offensive snaps and one special teams snap according to Pro Football Reference. He was not targeted by Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II during this brief audition, but he has been working on changing that over the offseason.

Smith-Marsette was one of the KC pass-catchers that was photographed and recorded working out with Mahomes on April 11. The KC signal-caller actually shared a video clip of a deep connection with Smith-Marsette on his personal Twitter account with the caption: “ @_ihmirr_ .”

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Not long after, the video blew up around the Chiefs community with 11.5K likes and over 1,000 retweets and quotes in a little over two days’ time.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Moore, tight end Jody Fortson and Justyn Ross were also seen on social media, as well as quarterback Shane Buechele. It’s unclear how many other players were in attendance.

If Smith-Marsette keeps training with Mahomes ahead of Organized Team Activities, good things will happen. Perhaps, he might even make the 53-man roster as Goldman alluded.

Chiefs’ Ihmir Smith-Marsette Known for ‘Speed’ & ‘Kick-Return Talent’ in College

Smith-Marsette is a Newark, New Jersey native, but played college ball at Iowa. Heading into the draft, he was projected as a sixth or seventh round selection by NFL Network scouting expert Lance Zierlein.

In the end, he exceeded that prediction as a fifth rounder of the Vikings. Unfortunately, that first pitstop of Smith-Marsette’s NFL journey didn’t work out.

Here’s what Zierlein had to say about Smith-Marsette as a prospect in 2021:

“Thin-framed receiver whose value rests in his speed, gadget-package potential and kick-return talent. He’s an average route-runner and can be undone by physical coverage, which is likely to continue on the next level. His ball skills are below average on deep throws, but his ability to push the defense downfield should open up things for easy catches underneath. He’s a likely later-round candidate with potential to land a WR5 gig, thanks — in part — to his return value.”

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Based on that description, Smith-Marsette is a near-dead ringer for Mecole Hardman, who obviously just left in free agency. With that role now open, it’s possible general manager Brett Veach and Coach Reid see the Iowa product as a cost-effective candidate to replace him. Having said that, he’ll still be hard-pressed to make the team with lots of competition around him.

Note: Toney, James and John Ross all have similar traits among others, although Smith-Marsette is probably the most clear and obvious Hardman comp of the group.

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