The Key That Will Open Up The Giants' Offense
The Giants spent their second round pick on John Michael Schmitz (JMS), a center from the University of Minnesota. For a team with two-bookend young tackles, they were looking to add to the interior of their offensive line. Coach Brian Daboll’s base run calls are usually gap-scheme, but the athleticism and versatility that their two tackles offer allowed him to call more zone-runs than he did with Buffalo. I believe JMS is a starting center from day one due to his intelligence and movement abilities.
The first thing I look for in offensive linemen is whether or not they are athletes that are reactive enough to play against modern day NFL defensive linemen. JMS is a very good lateral mover with excellent bend that will allow him to thrive in a zone scheme and pull in gap schemes. He does an excellent job at gaining proper hat placement which allows him to seal his blocks on the first level and create downfield running lanes in the defensive line. In pass protection, JMS has active feet and a good anchor that allows him to handle power rushes. From a mental standpoint, JMS is everything a team wants in an offensive lineman. He does not get confused by movement across the defensive line and has shown the ability to effectively pass off stunts. I also love that he also has the “asshole factor” in him. He is not soft; he plays through the whistle and does not take it easy on second level defenders. JMS has the athleticism, intelligence, anchor, and mental toughness that every NFL team covets in their offensive linemen.
While JMS has the athletic ability to thrive in most schemes, I believe he is a better fit for a zone running scheme than a gap scheme. He lacks elite explosion through contact and knock back off the line of scrimmage. A lot of gap scheme runs for offensive linemen involve meeting defenders head on and driving them back; that is not necessarily JMS’ specialty. There will be times where he has to lead block on the second level, but he has struggled with adjusting to moving targets in space. While he does a good job at keeping his elbows in tight in pass protection, he still has a lot of room to grow with using his hands and replacing them after getting swiped. He can also tend to be a bit of a leaner that uses his momentum rather than strength to move players. JMS has the ideal athletic feats to be a great center in a west-coast offense, but may not be the ideal center for coach Daboll’s scheme.
I believe JMS is a plug and play guy due to his intelligence and ability to process what is happening on the defensive line. The game is very fast the closer in you get to the offensive line because there is less space to work with and more defenders on both sides. He has proven that the game is not too fast for him and that he can consistently get proper positioning as a run blocker. His traits remind me of the 49ers’ center, Jake Brendel, who had a breakout season in 2022. JMS ended up grading out as a first round center for me, but the positional value and lack of elite strength and power is why he fell to day two.
Change of Direction + Bend: 12.25/14
Feet + Short Area Quickness: 10.25/12
Football IQ + Hat Placement: 9.25/10
Anchor, Strain, + Strength: 8.25/10
Point of Contact + Explosion: 6.25/8
Hands + Length: 4.5/6
Final Rating: 85
Draft Grade: Mid-Round 1
Pro Comparison: Jake Brendel