John Michael Schmitz NFL Draft Scouting Report
IOL, Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota IOL John Michael Schmitz projects as a starting center in the NFL. There’s little question that Michael Schmitz has the frame and the IQ to play center in the NFL when you watch him on tape—he’s a large-bodied center who wins in a number of different ways.
Originally a 3-star recruit, Schmitz played his high school football at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Flossmoor, IL. Schmitz was also a high school wrestler, and those experiences are evident quickly when watching him leverage at the point of attack in the heart of Minnesota’s offensive line. Redshirting his true freshman season, Schmitz was on campus for two years before taking over a starting role in 2019 (four starts), By the end of his collegiate career, he’d logged 36 career starts at center for the Gophers.
Schmitz is a powerful center that offers the kind of stature that would shine in an inside zone and between-the-tackles gap running system. Offering effective punch and pad power as a run blocker, Schmitz projects as someone capable of generating the needed wash in the front to allow backs and lead blockers to hit gaps with confidence. There’s a stout anchor in pass protection present here as well. Schmitz does well against both interior blockers and second-level pressure players to slam the door shut and sit down on his hips to prevent collapse into his quarterback’s lap. What really got me excited, however, was the ability to execute cut-off and reach blocks when runs needed to gain a man to the run strength—Schmitz showcased surprising lateral mobility but also very efficient hands to twist and manipulate defenders to allow his guard to push and release to the second level. Furthermore, I thought he was a cerebral player with his strike timing and attacks to either create a firm stun punch or deconstruct defenders and get them off of their base at the point of attack. A multi-year starter at center, this is a player who identifies pressure opportunities with consistency, he processes front movement well and stays patient to ensure action doesn’t fold back his way before committing and pushing off his landmark to transition into a help blocker.
While his ability to execute reach blocks and add numbers to the front is a surprising quality, I’m not fully certain Schmitz is well suited for wide and outside zone concepts with regularity based on some of his functional athleticism. Schmitz will, when needing to string out the point of attack, seemingly overextend himself and his long-range athleticism appears to be a limiting factor. On these reps, he’ll get caught with his weight out overtop of his toes, allow his balance to whittle away, and lunge and miss contact. Quick-footed interior defenders did test him at times when climbing as well—consistency in his angles is an area where polish can be afforded. Generally, I do believe there is some tightness in the core—nothing that will prohibit him for playing effectively at the point but as a result he may end up with a smaller menu of assignments in space than some other centers have. Schmitz has played exclusively as a center during his time at Minnesota, but he’s got a build to play guard and did play tackle in high school—any level of versatility is something I’d consider a bonus, not a strength of his resume.
Expectations for Schmitz should be that this is a starting player on your offensive line sooner rather than later. He has the capabilities to step in and process NFL information and has the physical profile to handle A-gap defenders and maintain push or a clean pocket.
Top Reasons to Buy In:
- Sturdy build offers a strong anchor in protection
- Fluid and athletic enough to flow laterally with the point of attack
- Very effective hand implementation to win first contact
- Well-tenured player who processes information in the middle well
Top Reasons For Concern:
- Not sure he’s an overly dynamic player with plus explosiveness or flexibility
- Angles in space can be tested by more rangy defenders
- Pad level is something that will be a point of emphasis
- Will be a 24-year-old rookie
Size (NFL Combine):
Height: 6′ 3 1/2”
Weight: 301 lbs
Arm Length: 32 5/8”
Hand Size: 9 1/2”
Athletic Testing (NFL Combine):
40-yard Dash: 5.35s
Vertical Jump: 29.5”
Broad Jump: 8′ 8”
Bench Reps: 26 reps
Ideal Role: Starting center
Scheme Fit: Scheme transcendent
TDN Consensus Grade: 84.00/100 (Second-Round Value)
- Crabbs Grade: 84.00/100
Written By: Kyle Crabbs
Exposures: Ohio State (2021), Michigan State (2022), Illinois (2022), Penn State (2022), Iowa (2022)
John Michael Schmitz NFL Draft Scouting Report. Add him to your big board here.