2023 NFL Draft

Players That Bear Watching: Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz

2023 NFL Draft

Over the course of this football season, the focus of these player profiles revolved around likely first round prospects. Owning the first overall selection in the 2023 draft, it’s possible that through trades Chicago may acquire additional high end picks. Between now and draft day, player evaluations will be fluid as these athletes will have competed in all-star games, the NFL combine and their prospective pro days. The Chicago Bears will need to select talented players at various positions and most will come from the later rounds in the draft. Today’s profile focuses
on a position of need, although this player’s possible selection could be a day two decision.

Name: John Michael Schmitz

Position: C

School (Year): Minnesota (Sr)

Measurables: 6’4”, 320 lbs / 5.2 40-Time / Hands 9 ⅝ / Arms 32 ¾ / Wingspan 9 ⅝

Career Notes: [2022] First Team All-American (AP, FWAA); [2022] Second Team All-American (Walter Camp); [2022] First Team All-Big Ten (Coaches, Media); [2021] Second Team All-Big Ten (Coaches); [2021] Third Team All-Big Ten (Media); [2020] All-Big Ten Honorable Mention; [2018 thru 2022] Academic All-Big Ten

Best Game: Determining just how well an offensive lineman individually performed, especially the center of any given team isn’t easy. Typically, the overall success of the offense based on an aggregate of statistics, points scored and a victory or “quality loss,” will determine how well an offensive lineman played. During the 2022 campaign, Minnesota traveled to Lansing, Michigan to face the then 11th ranked Spartans on September 24. The Golden Gophers rushed for 240 yards with one rushing touchdown; while accumulating 268 passing yards and three aerial scores dominating Michigan State 34 to 7. Schmitz guided an offensive line that produced 32 first downs without allowing any sacks.


RELATED: 2023 NFL Mock Draft: What should Bears do with No. 1 pick?

What he's saying about himself: “I love being the glue that holds the offense together. As a center we have to connect everybody together. I have to make sure that we’re all on the same page.” - via The Draft Network

Skill Set: Schmitz sports great size and framing (6’4”, 320 lbs) to play at the next level, competing with a physicality that mirrors his natural attributes. A fifth year senior, he’s developed strong leadership skills holding both himself and teammates to high levels of accountability. Schmitz works well in various offensive schemes, but appears most effective in a power running attack. A solid wingspan (78 inches and seven/eighths) combined with powerful hands help him gain immediate leverage when he fully extends his arms. Schmitz showcases above average quickness from the snap and his aggressive bursts set a physical tone that wears down opponents. Excellent timing with hand placement and precision strikes, make him a terror on combination blocks. Quick to anchor in pass sets, Schmitz displays great strength and balance that helps him establish and maintain quality leverage against defenders. A five time Academic All-Big Ten player, his cerebral approach to the game is like playing chess to his opponents’ checkers like tactics.

Why Chicago? The parade of interior offensive linemen that have played center for the Bears since 2019 is sad and embarrassing. The brain trust of Chicago’s offensive line has been entrusted to players like: Lucas Patrick; Sam Mustipher; Patrick Scales; Eric Kush; Ted Larsen; Alex Bars; James Daniels and Cody Whitehair. If selected today, John Michael Schmitz projects to instantly being more qualified and suitable as a NFL center than the aforementioned players. A powerful athlete with great balance, Schmitz is a beast at the point of attack and has an ability to collapse the interior of a defensive front. Very little time or energy is wasted when he engages defenders, especially in the run game and on downfield combination blocks. An experienced player (36 starts), Schmitz logged over 1500 snaps in his last 25 games played, allowing just 10 quarterback hurries with two sacks and one quarterback hit. Cerebral, physical, durable with accountable leadership skills, Schmitz could immediately shore up a position that has been deplorable over the past several seasons. Schmitz’s skill set currently fits with a Bears’ offensive scheme that had the team averaging 31 points in a four week span against the Patriots, Cowboys, Dolphins and Lions.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Download MyTeams Today!