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Why did the Giants draft John Michael Schmitz? Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll explain

GM Joe Schoen says Schmitz ‘embodies what we want to be about’

Minnesota v Penn State Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

The New York Giants needed a center. GM Joe Schoen said what he had to say before the 2023 NFL Draft — that he thought there were veteran players on the roster who could fill that role if need be.

All along, though, you had to know that when value met need Schoen would not hesitate to draft a center.

He did so on Friday night, selecting former Minnesota Golden Gopher John Michael Schmitz with the 57th overall pick in Round 2.

“Schmitz is a great guy, I know we haven’t talked about him, but smart, tough, dependable, played a lot of ball. Had a great Senior Bowl,” Schoen said. “He’s a good player and a great kid.

“He embodies what we want to be about.”

Schmitz and Joe Tippmann of Wisconsin were acknowledged as the top two centers in this class. The New York Jets took Tippmann 43rd overall. After trading up in Round 1 for cornerback Deonte Banks and with an inkling he might be able to use an extra draft asset to make a move up the board in Round 3, Schoen had to sweat while he waited to see if Schmitz would fall to him with the 57th pick.

“I wish I had a crystal ball. It’s hard. Patience, I wouldn’t say is one of my strengths, and I often get tested this time of year because it’s like anything, if you want it and you have the resources to get it, go get it,” Schoen said. “I’ve been on the other side that when you’re sitting there kicking yourself for not doing something you and don’t like the subsequent result from not doing what you could have done and you were okay with, you know, what it was going to cost you.

“So yeah, I mean, Chicago jumped up from us, and you thought, okay, who knows what they are going to take. There were a couple of players there that we liked, but you’ve got to be at peace with that if it happens and say, hey, let’s just stay patient and we did that. You know, any type of move-up would have cost us another pick and maybe you don’t end up with Jalin [Hyatt]. So, you know, I’m glad it worked out the way it did.”

Schmitz said during a conference call on Friday night that “my toughness, my grit, the way I finish plays is what sets me apart from other people.”

Head coach Brian Daboll said that during a pre-draft FaceTime Schmitz “basically wanted to put his helmet and shoulder pads on that instant.”

While it seems obvious the Giants will give Schmitz every opportunity to earn the starting center role, Daboll wasn’t handing it to him on Friday night.

“Regardless of if it’s this offense or any other offense, you’re coming in from college and you’re playing against grown men up front,” Daboll said. “I’d say there’s a learning curve mentally, but there’s also a physical curve, too, and we won’t find that out until August.

“But this guy’s tough. He’s smart. He’s got a good frame. Former wrestler. Good leader. We’ll throw him in the mix, let him compete it out with the other guys and see how it ends up.”