Rams 2023 Draft Prospect Profile: John Michael Schmitz (IOL, Minnesota)
It was a tumultuous season along the offensive line for the Los Angeles Rams in 2022. Injuries and inconsistent play from multiple offensive linemen led to the Rams allowing 59 sacks this past season, which is the most in a season under Sean McVay.
The Rams recently reworked Brian Allen’s contract at the center position, creating more cap space for the team. Even though Allen’s restructured contract likely means he will be the starter to begin the 2023 campaign, it shouldn’t rule out the possibility of the Rams taking a center in this year’s draft.
If the Rams elect to take one early, John Michael Schmitz out of Minnesota is a prospect to keep tabs on.
Schmitz originally committed to playing at Western Michigan under head coach P.J. Fleck before Fleck was hired at Minnesota. After spending the first couple of years at Minnesota primarily on special teams, Schmitz made 35 total starts at center in college.
Following a productive collegiate career, Schmitz was invited to the Senior Bowl and he impressed scouts. He would then record a 5.35 40-yard dash (6th among Cs) and a 1.85 10-yard split (6th among Cs) at the NFL scouting combine.
How he fits the Rams
During his time at Minnesota, Schmitz primarily blocked in a zone-running scheme, so he’d understand some concepts in Sean McVay’s offense. Schmitz has good lateral quickness in the interior and he was fantastic at communicating calls at the line of scrimmage in college.
The Minnesota prospect doesn’t have the longest arms at 32 inches, but he makes up for it with the other aspects of his game. While Schmitz needs to improve in certain areas, he could become a plug-and-play starter at the center position early in his career, making him a potential future replacement for Allen on the Rams.
With this year’s class of interior offensive linemen not being the deepest group, there’s a chance a team announces Schmitz’s name in the first round. That being said, most mock drafts have Schmitz being taken in the second round.
The Rams won’t make their first selection until the 36th overall pick in the second round of the 2023 NFL draft. Unless the Rams use a mixture of their other 10 picks in the draft, they’ll likely need to use the No. 36 overall pick on Schmitz if they want the Minnesota center.