The Trench Warfare 2023 NFL Draft Film Room - Episode 6 featuring Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz
Welcome everyone to the sixth edition of the 2023 NFL Draft film room series where I sit down with OL prospects in the upcoming draft class. The intent is to shine a light on each player’s story and skill-set while watching their college film together. The focus will be on the best competition they faced to best assess the strengths of their game and what they can rely on during their pro careers.
We will discuss technique, scheme, dive into opponents and take you inside their preparation leading up to the game and how they processed information in real time. During our talks, players often share unique anecdotes and stories from the game and their careers that you can only find here on Trench Warfare.
So far for the 2023 draft class I have had on Tennessee RT Darnell Wright, Northwestern LT Peter Skoronski, Florida RG O’Cyrus Torrence, TCU LG Steve Avila and Oklahoma LT Anton Harrison. Next up is former Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz.
Minnesota C John Michael Schmitz
Schmitz is a former 3-star offensive tackle recruit and accomplished high school wrestler with 35 career starts at the pivot for the Gophers. I first noticed Schmitz in September of 2021 when studying Minnesota RT Daniel Faalale and graded him as a borderline top 50 overall prospect assuming he would declare for the 2022 NFL Draft. Schmitz wound up returning to school for his sixth year of eligibility. Since then Schmitz had an excellent showing in Mobile at the Senior Bowl, solid combine and has solidified his status as a top 50 selection in the 2023 draft. Schmitz could feasibly sneak into the end of the first round with the most likely scenario being being drafted between picks 25 and 40.
Schmitz wins with starting-level play strength, refined run-blocking skills and a tone-setting mentality. His effort-level combined with strength and a keen understanding of how to manipulate and win leverage results in one of the draft’s top ‘finishers.’
In 2021 I saw a bigger version of former Titans C Ben Jones and that carried over to 2022 when I made that my official comparison in my scouting report. I see Schmitz as being an immediate, solid starter with a high floor that should carry him through multiple contracts.
Here are some of the topics we discussed during our film room:
Kicking things off with a discussion on Schmitz’s elite-level competitive toughness, effort and finish with several examples
Defining what a ‘crush’ and ‘nasty’ block were inside the Minnesota OL room
‘Cutting a defense in half’ on outside zone
Keys to using the gallop technique on double-teams
Marrying wrestling skills to the football field to finish blocks
Detailing several reps against Wisconsin standout DT Keanu Benton
Fighting through multiple DL holds on outside zone using a strong backside hand and good play strength
Getting out in space on a screen to clean up backside pursuit
Staying square against a double ‘A’ gap mug defensive front to help facilitate smooth pass off and pick ups in case of a blitz
Showing off Schmitz’s strong anchor in pass-protection and ability to turn a pass pro rep into a run-block
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