football-player football-score football-helmet football-ball Accuracy Arm-Strength Balance Ball-Security Ball-Skills Big-Play-Ability Block-Deconstruction Competitive-Toughness Core-Functional-Strength Decision-Making Discipline Durability Effort-Motor Elusivness Explosiveness Football-IQ Footwork Functional-Athleticism Hand-Counters Hand-Power Hand-Technique Hands Lateral-Mobility Leadership Length Mechanics Mobility Pass-Coverage-Ability Pass-Protection Pass-Sets Passing-Down-Skills Pocket-Manipulation Poise Power-at-POA Progressions RAC-Ability Range Release-Package Release Route-Running Run-Defending Separation Special-Teams-Ability-1 Versatility Vision Zone-Coverage-Skills Anchor-Ability Contact-Balance Man-Coverage-Skills Tackling Lifted Logic Web Design in Kansas City clock location phone email play chevron-down chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up facebook tiktok checkbox checkbox-checked radio radio-selected instagram google plus pinterest twitter youtube send linkedin search arrow-circle bell left-arrow right-arrow tdn-mark filled-play-circle yellow-arrow-circle dark-arrow-circle star cloudy snowy rainy sunny plus minus triangle-down link close drag minus-circle plus-circle pencil premium trash lock simple-trash simple-pencil eye cart
NFL Draft

Ihmir Smith-Marsette: 2021 NFL Draft Prospect Interview Series

  • The Draft Network
  • April 9, 2021
  • Share

NFL offenses are making more explosive plays in today’s game than in previous years. Filling out a wide receiver corps with speedy and dynamic playmakers is more imperative now than ever before.

If your favorite team is looking for a pass-catcher who can take it to the house on any given touch, former Iowa wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette is the man for the job.

Smith-Marsette is an electrifying player that possesses excellent size and ball skills. He routinely showcased the ability to stack defensive backs and win vertically on a consistent basis, even if Iowa didn’t always take full advantage of his big-play ability. He’s also an effective return man that should make some breathtaking plays as both a kick and punt returner at the next level.

Smith-Marsette spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his unique and exciting skillset, why he loves beating defenses deep, his special teams prowess, and what kind of impact he’ll have in the NFL.

JM: How is the predraft process going for you so far?

ISM: It’s going well. I’ve been training at EXOS in Pensacola, Florida. We’re getting in some great work down here. I feel well prepared for what’s to come.

JM: How do you reflect on your time at Iowa?

ISM: I had a great time at Iowa. I loved all of my teammates. We won a lot of games together. I had nothing but great experiences. I enjoyed my four years there. I wouldn’t trade my time at Iowa for anything in the world.

JM: When I turn the tape on, I see a receiver that pairs vertical speed with ball skills. How did you develop these aspects of your game?

ISM: I’ve been playing football since a young age. I used to be outside playing with my cousins. I was a kid playing on the streets. I was already making over-the-shoulder catches at that age. We were so competitive. Nobody wanted to be the weakest link in the family out there (laughs). You didn’t wanna be the worst player. I learned my skills by playing street football. I didn’t start playing in an organized setting until high school. I was playing on dead-end roads with my cousins. It all started there.

JM: That’s a great story. Do you have a favorite route to run?

ISM: I love running a post corner. I’m really good at it (laughs). I’ve been running that route smoothly since my high school days. You can go back and turn on my high school tape. I’ve been doing it since then. Turn on my tape at Iowa and you’ll see that I killed some college DBs with that route (laughs). I can frequently get open when running a post corner.

JM: I love that. You also have terrific size. Iowa listed you at 6-foot-1. We’ve talked about your deep speed and ball skills, but you also have great height for the position. What are some of the ways you use that to your advantage?

ISM: I can make leaping grabs. I can extend my body and pluck the football out of the air. I’m a physical receiver at the catch point. I can go up and get it. I use my size and athleticism to make plays.

JM: You’ve also returned kicks. You can make something happen on special teams. What do you enjoy about doing that, and do you hope to return kicks at the next level?

ISM: I enjoy doing that because it helps me bring something different to the table. It’s a game within the game. A lot of people pay close attention to offense and defense, but special teams is another important part of this game. When you start putting points on the board through special teams, it gives your team a whole new dynamic. The people love to see a kick return go for a touchdown. 

It’s another thing for the opposition to worry about. They have to game-plan for me on special teams. I really enjoy doing it. The fans love it. I’m explosive when I get the ball in my hands. I plan on being a highly impactful return man at the next level. I’m going to continue my dominance in that aspect of the game. 

JM: I think you’re going to be an electric return man in the NFL. What’s your favorite part of playing the receiver position?

ISM: The wide receiver position allows me to be creative. I get to add my flavor to it. You don’t have to be one-dimensional or the same as everybody else. I play the position with my own style. I add my little seasonings and sauces to it (laughs). There’s a number of ways to get open. Celebrating touchdowns with your teammates is the best feeling. I love using my mind to get creative with how I play the position. I let the game come to me.

JM: That’s awesome. Who are some players that you admired growing up? Do you model your game after anybody?

ISM: I always wanted to be like DeSean Jackson growing up. He wasn’t afraid to be himself out there. I admired that. He has a lot of fun. He was making big plays both as a receiver and on special teams. He ran past people. I always wanted to be like him growing up.

In terms of today’s game, I pay attention to people like Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams. Both of those guys are creative receivers that bring their own style to the game. They find ways to consistently get open and make plays.

JM: Those are some great players to study and learn from. We’ve reached a point in the process where you’re meeting with teams virtually. How is that going for you, and which teams have you met with so far?

ISM: It’s going well. I’ve met with so many teams throughout this process. The meetings have all been different. Sometimes they’re just trying to learn some information about you, other times we’re talking football and going through concepts. I met with the Saints, Rams, Jets, Jaguars, Bills, Bengals, Raiders, and Washington. I’ve met with a lot of teams as I said. Those are some of them. It’s a blessing to know that NFL teams are interested in me.

JM: There’s a lot of interest in you and it’s easy to see why. What do you think is one strength in your game that doesn’t get talked about enough?

ISM: I come through in the clutch. Whenever it’s time to make a big play, I’m ready and open. I come through when you need me most. When my number gets called, I’m ready to make a big play.

JM: If you could catch a pass from any QB in the NFL, who would it be and why?

ISM: Deshaun Watson is my favorite quarterback in the NFL. He’s young and playing at such a high level. He’s paid his dues, and he’s one of the best QBs in the league. It would be so cool to play with somebody like him (laughs). He has a lot of swagger out there. He’s at the top of his game. I would have a lot of fun catching passes from somebody like him.

JM: That’s a great choice. I’ve really appreciated your time today. In closing, what kind of impact is Ihmir Smith-Marsette going to make at the next level?

ISM: I’m gonna make a big impact. I’m somebody that can come in and help at receiver and on special teams. I’m gonna make my presence felt. I can’t wait to get to the league and work my butt off. I’m gonna take everything that’s coming for me.

Filed In

Related Articles

Written By

The Draft Network