2023 NFL Draft: Underrated rookies to watch this season

Emmanuel Forbes (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
Emmanuel Forbes (Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) /
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NFL Draft
John Michael Schmitz (Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) /

3. John Michael Schmitz, Center, New York Giants

The New York Giants entered the 2023 NFL Draft needing to work on the interior offensive line, specifically at the center position. They did just that, selecting Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz in the second round.

John Michael Schmitz is one of if not the best interior offensive linemen in this year’s draft. In 2022, he led all power five interior offensive linemen in PFF blocking grade and PFF run block grade. Although his production as a pass blocker is a bit underwhelming, there’s no question that he is a dominant run blocker and one of the top offensive linemen in the class in this department.

Although Schmitz was incredible in college, there is a chance he won’t be quite as good in the NFL. The reason why is he is a pretty old prospect at 24 years old, and he is a good athlete but not a great one.

At the combine, he posted a 29.5-inch vertical (78th percentile), 8’08 broad jump (68th percentile), 1.78 10-yard split (77th percentile), and a 4.56 20-yard shuttle (82nd percentile). These numbers are good, but they’re not quite elite, which means his elite production, which came later in his college career, may not translate to the NFL.

Still, he was really good throughout his collegiate career, and there is a good chance he is going to be a good player at the next level. According to Ourlads, Schmitz is projected to be the Giants’ starting center as a rookie, and I think he could be really good in year one. Offensive linemen never get any love when it comes to the offensive rookie of the year race, but Schmitz could be one of the more effective rookies next season.