As the New York Giants gear up for their upcoming training camp, all eyes will be on their overhauled offensive line, which underwent a significant transformation in 2022.
Rebuilding the Offensive Line
Drafting Evan Neal and signing Mark Glowinski were part of the revamping process, but a series of rotations at the center and left guard positions have left some lingering uncertainties.
The Giants are pinning their hopes on a substantial developmental leap from Neal, more consistency from left guards Ben Bredesen and Joe Ezeudu, and rookie center John Michael-Schmitz stepping up to take on a full-time starting role.
Rookie Center John Michael-Schmitz: A Draft Steal
Securing Michael-Schmitz in the second round was a draft coup for the Giants. The center had previously been predicted to fall toward the end of the first round.
Outperforming his peers, Michael-Schmitz achieved the second-highest total score among centers at the NFL Combine, ranking fifth in athleticism and first in production. Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 301 pounds, this rookie center embodies the ideal characteristics of a promising above-average starter for the future.
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A Game Changer On and Off the Field
Michael-Schmitz’s intelligence and pre-snap IQ equip him with the ability to diagnose pass rushes and prepare for different sequences – a trait put to the test by offensive line coach Bobby Johnson during pre-draft meetings.
Yet Michael-Schmitz is more than just a physically gifted player with great potential as a starter. He’s also seen as a great fit for the locker room and a key player in building team culture and camaraderie.
Praise from College Coach P.J. Fleck
P.J. Fleck, Michael-Schmitz’s college coach, spoke highly of him, both as a player and a person. He praised his ability to unite the locker room and his competitive spirit on the field, two traits that align perfectly with the Giants’ team identity.
“He’s one of the greatest people off the field, one of the best connectors of a locker room that you’ll ever meet,” P.J. Fleck, JMS’s college coach said, via the Giants Huddle Podcast. “However, when he’s on that football field, he is a nasty, nasty human being. That’s what you want because you’re creating that identity of what you’re going to become as a program, especially when you’re in the Big Ten, and especially when you’re in the north and in the Mid-American Conference. You’ve got to be able to impose your will, and we believe strongly in that.”
According to PFF, Michael-Schmitz scored an impressive 92.3 overall grade this past season. Across his three collegiate seasons, he only conceded two sacks, with only one quarterback hit during his recent campaign. This impressive record spanned 767 offensive snaps and 12 total games played.
Michael-Schmitz, with all his reps at center, is a plug-and-play starter that should substantially enhance the Giants’ interior offensive line.