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Giants need Year 2 leap from center John Michael Schmitz



Giants need Year 2 leap from center John Michael Schmitz

Center John Michael Schmitz did not have the rookie season the New York Giants hoped for when they made him their second-round pick (No. 57 overall) in the 2023 NFL Draft. Can Schmitz make a Year 2 leap and help improve the fortunes of the Giants’ long-troublesome offensive line?

Let’s discuss Schmitz as we continue player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

The skinny

Height: 6-foot-4
Weight: 320
Opening day age: 25
Position: Center
Experience: 1
Contract: Year 2 of four-year, $6,373,334 rookie deal | 2024 cap hit: $1,448,485 | Guaranteed at signing: $3,424,849 | 2024 guaranteed salary: $1,039,697

Career to date

Schmitz’s rookie season did not meet expectations as he was Pro Football Focus’s lowest-graded center among those who played at least 690 offensive snaps, with a 41.4 overall grade.

Schmitz’s pass protection was particularly troublesome, as he compiled a poor 26.9 PFF grade, the worst among qualifying centers while allowing five sacks and 30 total pressures in 484 pass-blocking snaps. His 96.2 pass-blocking efficiency score was also the worst among those 31 qualifiers, per PFF.

Schmitz’s occasional issues dealing with power and athleticism, particularly in pass blocking, were anticipated by BBV’s Chris Pflum in his pre-draft prospect profile. The depth of Schmitz’s struggle in 2023, though, had to be tied to the significant issue at the guard positions.

The Giants used Mark Glowinski, Ben Bredeson, Shane Lemieux, Marcus McKethan, Justin Pugh, and Jalen Mayfield at guard last year, shuffling lineups constantly due to both injuries and poor performance.

2024 outlook

Schmitz will be the starting center again this season. He should improve in Year 2, especially if there is more stability on both sides of him.

Jon Runyan Jr., who signed to provide stability next to Schmitz at one of the guard spots, was impressed by the second-year center during spring practices.

“It has really been amazing playing next to John Michael,” Runyan said. “If I would’ve come in here not knowing his background, I would’ve thought he was a five-year veteran. He comes in here and he takes it serious. He is on top of his stuff. He rarely makes a mistake, he gets everybody set on the offensive line.

“Having a center like that is awesome. It helps everybody out, the five across. Helps out the quarterback, helps out the running back when everybody is set, so having John Michael in there has been really important.”

That ability to make all the calls properly and know the assignments was also part of Schmitz’s pre-draft scouting report.

Now, it is a matter of whether or not he can do a better job executing those assignments. A little help from his friends on both sides will go a long way toward making that happen.

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