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Five Things to Know About New Chiefs TE Irv Smith Jr.

The Chiefs signed Smith on Thursday

The Kansas City Chiefs added to their offense on Thursday with the signing of 25-year-old tight end Irv Smith Jr.

Here are five things to know about the newest member of the offense.

1. Smith played for the Cincinnati Bengals last season.

The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Smith caught 18 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown in 12 games for Cincinnati in 2023. He logged 330 offensive snaps in that time, marking the second-most of any tight end on the Bengals' roster.

Here's a look at his athletic, 7-yard touchdown against the Bills in Week 9.

2. Prior to joining the Bengals, Smith was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 2019.

The Vikings selected Smith with the No. 50 overall selection of the 2019 NFL Draft, making him the third tight end selected that year. He went on to catch 91 passes for 858 yards and nine touchdowns in 37 games (15 starts) over the next four seasons, including a 29-game stretch between 2019 and 2020 in which he hauled in 66 catches for 676 yards and seven scores.

Smith suffered a knee injury prior to the 2021 campaign, however, that ended his season. He managed to appear in eight games the following year before suiting up for 12 contests in 2023.

3. His best season as a professional took place in 2020.

Smith put together a strong sophomore season as a professional in 2020, catching 30 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns. He logged at least 50 receiving yards in four of his 13 games that season, catching all five of his scores in the red zone.

He seemed poised for a breakout campaign the following year, but the aforementioned knee injury – which took place during the 2021 preseason – ended his third professional season before it truly began. Now more than two years removed from that injury, and still only 25 years old, Smith will have an opportunity to pick up where he left off back in 2020.

Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. (84) handles the ball against Chicago Bears cornerback Kyler Gordon (6) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022 in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

4. He has significant experience lining up in-line and out of the slot.

Smith has lined up as a traditional, in-line tight end for the majority of his career, but he also has significant experience as a receiver playing out of the slot. Last season, for example, Smith recorded 177 snaps as an in-line tight end, 91 snaps out of the slot and 57 snaps split out wide. During his top statistical season back in 2020, Smith was positioned in-line for 387 snaps and lined up out of the slot on 102 snaps.

Overall, Smith – regardless of where he was positioned – went out for a pass on 237 of his 330 offensive snaps last year, logging 87 run-blocking snaps and six pass-blocking snaps when he didn't run a route.

It's all to say that Smith has experience moving around, providing Head Coach Andy Reid with another versatile member of the tight end room.

5. Smith played his college ball at the University of Alabama.

Prior to joining the Vikings, Smith was a Second-Team All-SEC honoree during his junior campaign for the Crimson Tide, hauling in 44 passes for 710 yards and seven scores. He was widely considered one of the top tight end prospects available in the 2019 NFL Draft following the season, prompting Lance Zierlein from to write the following:

"Smith is still green in terms of overall experience, which shows up in run-blocking and route-running, but he has plenty of talent and is likely to get much better in both areas. He has combination tight end talent but really flashes as a move blocker at fullback or wingback spots. His buildup speed sets him apart as a big, field-stretching option and once he gets rolling after the catch. O.J. Howard was bigger, and a better athlete, but like Howard, Smith offers Pro Bowl potential as a well-rounded tight end prospect."

Smith's talent was on display during his first two seasons in the NFL before his injury in 2021, and now healthy, he'll aim to recapture that success as a member of the back-to-back defending world champions.