American Football

John Michael Schmitz could bolster the middle of Washington’s line for years to come


Minnesota v Penn State
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

Hogs Haven takes a look at 2023 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Commanders

John Michael Schmitz, C
School: Minnesota | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 23
Height / Weight: 6’4” / 306 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 1-2

Player Comp: Alex Mack

Player Overview

Last season, John Michael Schmitz finished his sixth year of collegiate football, having used the extra year granted to college students during the pandemic to further refine his craft at the University of Minnesota. As a result, he represents an unusually polished college talent, coming out with the size, strength, and mental acuity of a player who has been in the pros for a year or two.

Schmitz is an enthusiastic run blocker, happy to destroy defenders at the second level with pancake blocks, and he has the lateral mobility to keep them locked up on drawn out rush plays across the field.

As a pass blocker, Schmitz’s football IQ allows him to be highly effective in calling pass protections, and his top end strength helps to provide a reliable anchor against pressing pass rushers.

Indications are that Schmitz has the capacity to provide some positional flex to guard in the pros, if necessary, as well. With his recent performance in the Senior Bowl, several observers are counting him among the best offensive linemen in this year’s draft class.


  • Has great burst off the ball.
  • Can get to the second level and be highly effective in run blocking.
  • Already has incredible functional strength.
  • Possesses high-end hip flexibility to redirect defenders.
  • Has high football IQ, particularly as it comes to handling pass rush.
  • Has the ability to succeed in both power and zone-blocking schemes.


  • Has average length.
  • Will be 24 years old when he starts as a pro.
  • Needs to continue to work on maximizing his leverage.
  • Handwork could be refined, to minimize holding penalties.

Let’s See His Work

How He Would Fit

In many respects, Washington had been spoiled by consistent, high-end center play for a number of years until Chase Roullier’s recent injuries over the past two seasons. Since then, Washington has had a revolving door of back-up quality vets snapping to its play callers, and the offensive play has suffered dramatically as a result.

Roullier is slated to earn around $12.4M in 2023, but he can be released to save $4.3M this offseason, if the team decides to go in that direction. In any case, even if Roullier is kept around this coming season, it’s time for Washington to get serious about grooming his replacement (he can be cut after next season for over $10M in savings).

Coming into the Senior Bowl, Schmitz was looked at by many as the top center entering the 2023 draft. After his performance there this past week, that seems to be a near-consensus opinion. Last week, my hope was Washington could target him in the second round. It now appears he’s being mentioned in first round discussions.

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