New York Giants rookie bringing intense physicality to the offensive line

John Michael Schmitz, new york giants
Mar 4, 2023; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota offensive lineman John Michael Schmitz, Jr. (OL39) speaks to the press at the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants landed a steal in the second round of the 2023 NFL Draft when they selected Minnesota offensive lineman John Michael Schmitz. Despite his first-round draft projection, the Giants landed Schmitz with the 57th overall pick in the draft.

Schmitz was widely considered to be the best center in the draft class. The rookie will immediately step into the Giants’ starting lineup, bringing an intense physical presence that has been absent from the heart of the unit for years.

John Michael Schmitz bringing a physical mindset to the Giants offensive line

I don’t mind hitting. I enjoy it…

John Michael Schmitz via

Schmitz is a powerful center who plays through the whistle. He has a certified mean streak, constantly driving defensive linemen into the turf.’s Lance Zierlein compares Schmitz to Tennessee Titans veteran Ben Jones, saying Schmitz “has the tenacity to finish blocks at a high rate.”

Schmitz was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded center in the 2022 season, posting a 92.4 overall grade. He was one of only three centers in the country with 80-plus grades as both a pass- and run-blocker, per PFF.

Schmitz praised for his character off the field

At 6-foot-3, 300 pounds, Schmitz is a physical presence in the middle of the offensive line. But arguably more essential than his physical stature is Schmitz’s intelligence and work ethic. Minnesota’s head coach, P.J. Fleck, described Schmitz as “one of the greatest people off the field, one of the best connectors of a locker room that you’ll ever meet.”

He loves the game. He loves the contact. He loves the physicality of it. He loves the dirty part of it. He loves the nasty part of it. The nastier, the better he plays. The filthier it is, it’s like a pig man. He’s just rolling around in that mud and he’s happier as he gets more mud on him. That’s the type of player he is, and listen, there’s nothing fake about the guy. He’s probably the toughest football player I’ve ever been around as being a head football coach. He’s incredibly intelligent, really smart, but it’s not about that he just plays center or he’s a good offensive lineman. That’s what he does. How he plays the position separates him from everybody. That’s where in between that six seconds or five seconds, it’s a dog fight and a rock fight with him every single play.

P.J. Fleck on John Michael Schmitz via the Giants Huddle Podcast

Entering 2023, Schmitz will plug in as a day-one starter on the Giants’ offensive line. His intelligence and experience calling protections for Minnesota should allow him to quickly transition to the professional level. Center has been a position of weakness for several seasons in New York, but the team is confident that Schmitz will solve that problem and man the position for years to come.

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