The New York Giants are “locked onto” Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz with the 25th pick in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft, according to Pro Football Network NFL insider Tony Pauline.
Per Pauline, the Giants had Schmitz in East Rutherford, N.J. for a Top 30 visit. Pauline also noted that Giants offensive line coach Bobby Johnson worked Schmitz out privately.
Schmitz is generally considered the No. 1 center in the class. In our most recent mock draft tracker, nine of the 10 mock drafts that had the Giants selecting a center had Schmitz as the choice.
I made the case recently that selecting a center at No. 25 would not be the best value at that spot in the draft.
Pauline, though, notes that three other teams — the New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals — “desperately” need a center. He added that the Houston Texans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts also appear to be in the market for center help.
After losing both starter Jon Feliciano and backup Nick Gates in free agency and adding only career backup J.C. Hassenauer in free agency, the Giants do appear to have a need at center. If Pauline is right that Schmitz is their preferred player, perhaps the only way to make sure they get him would be to select him at No. 25.
There is some disagreement over center rankings in the scouting community.
Sports Info Solutions ranks Schmitz as the No. 1 center and 14th overall prospect in the draft class. SIS writes:
Schmitz is an experienced, technically sound, and very intelligent center who should be as close to a plug-and-play starter as there is in this draft.
33rd Team has Schmitz as its No. 3 center behind Joe Tippmann of Wisconsin and Olusegun Oluwaitimi of Michigan. 33rd Team says:
John Michael Schmitz is a smart, tough player that lacks any great trait but is a solid overall player.
In his draft guide, Dane Brugler of the The Athletic has Schmitz as the No. 2 center behind Tippmann, and has only a second-third round grade on him. He says:
The main concern for his NFL transition is his tendency to lose his balance, especially vs. quick interior penetrators. Overall, Schmitz must do a better job keeping his feet, hands and eyes on the same page, but he has the play strength and finishing attitude to execute at the NFL level. With improved consistency, he can be a functional pro starter.
Would you like Schmitz as the pick at No. 25, Giants fans?