Giants’ rookie offensive lineman has a tall task ahead

John Michael Schmitz, new york giants
Mar 5, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota offensive lineman John Michael Schmitz, Jr. (OL39) during the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants are poised for significant offensive improvement in 2023. However, the team’s offensive line’s performance stands as a potential stumbling block.

In the previous season, Big Blue found itself in 24th place in pass blocking and 14th in run blocking, as rated by Pro Football Focus (PFF). There’s no doubt that the Giants are keen to enhance their passing game and right tackle Evan Neal is crucial to that advancement.

The Challenge Facing Rookie Center John Michael-Schmitz

However, the responsibility facing rookie center John Michael-Schmitz is immense. His task involves adjusting to the NFL while confronting some of the most formidable defensive linemen in the NFC East.

The Giants have often been outmatched in the trenches over the past few seasons. Nonetheless, Michael-Schmitz is an excellent fit for the Giants as a high-upside center capable of immediately occupying the starting position.

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John Michael-Schmitz: A Bright Prospect

John Michael-Schmitz achieved the highest production score of any center at the 2023 NFL Combine. He ranked fifth in athleticism and recorded the second-best overall score. During his time at Minnesota, Michael-Schmitz conceded only two sacks and eight total pressures across 767 offensive snaps in the past year. Throughout his three-year career, Michael-Schmitz only allowed two sacks, earning some of the best grades in college football.

High IQ Player with Immediate Impact Potential

The 24-year-old is renowned for his high football IQ, suggesting he should quickly adapt to managing the offensive line and communicate effectively. Known for his consistency and dominance in the run game, he’s expected to provide plenty of opportunities for Saquon Barkley, assuming the latter signs the franchise tag and participates in Week 1 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite some concerns about his length, Michael-Schmitz possesses all the fundamental skills to become a trusted member of the Giants’ offensive line.

A Long-term Solution for the Giants

At the very least, Michael-Schmitz presents a high floor but a somewhat limited ceiling. The Giants are confident he can be an above-average player for a considerable period. Given the long-standing struggles at the center position, securing a long-term solution on a rookie deal is a positive move for the team.