Giants draft Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz in response to Eagles’ big first night

The Philadelphia Eagles stacked one of the NFL’s best defensive lines with two more studs from Georgia in Thursday’s first round: defensive tackle Jalen Carter and edge rusher Nolan Smith.

So the Giants answered in Friday’s second round by beefing up their interior offensive line with Minnesota center John Michael Schmitz at No. 57 overall.

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The intention is for the first-team All-American to immediately plug and play, help the Giants compete with the beasts of the NFC East and grow long-term in tandem with franchise quarterback Daniel Jones.

Schmitz, 24, after receiving the good news at his house in Homewood, Ill., said an offensive line deals with elite defensive lines by “setting the tone from the start.”

“You gotta be physical,” Schmitz said. “You gotta set the tone from the start – first quarter to fourth quarter. We always like to say, ‘if you run the ball, you gotta have body blows.’ The body blows turn into 25 and 30-yard touchdowns. You just gotta continue to wear those guys down. And eventually they’ll break.”

Schmitz, a 6-foot-4, 309-pound pivot, also has a mental edge coming to the Giants to go along with his physical abilities.

His agent Jeremiah Sirles played for Giants head coach Brian Daboll and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson with the Buffalo Bills, and Sirles has been training Schmitz in concepts that translate directly to the calls he’ll have to make for Jones in New York.

“Love coach Johnson,” Schmitz said. “I spent a lot of time with him at the pro day and dinner before that. It was amazing to connect with him. He’s a great coach, and what he’s doing with that offensive line, I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Daboll’s offense is “complicated” by Schoen’s own admission, and Schmitz aced his playbook test from Johnson during a dinner the night before Minnesota’s pro day in the spring.

“I feel like I’m a really good leader and communicator,” Schmitz said on a conference call surrounded by 20 family members and friends. “As a center, you gotta be a really good communicator, and the leadership sometimes comes natural to that position because you’re the first one to the line. You set the calls, you set protections and you’re in control of that offense.”

Schmitz spent six years in college, including a redshirt freshman year and the extra Covid season, and arrives with 57 games played and 35 starts. Schoen and Daboll let starting center Jon Feliciano (San Francisco) and backup center Nick Gates (Washington) walk in free agency this spring, leaving a gaping hole in the middle of their line.

That made center one of their primary needs entering this draft. Then that need became even more glaring when Eagles GM Howie Roseman expanded the gap between the two franchises on Thursday by selecting two more Bulldogs studs for his defensive front.

The Dallas Cowboys also took Michigan defensive tackle Mazi Smith in round one.


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The Giants are trying to recover from their blowout playoff loss in Philadelphia which made them 0-3 against the Eagles in Daboll’s first season.

On defense, that meant prioritizing their run defense in free agency. On offense, it meant reinforcing the line of scrimmage to protect Jones so the offense could operate and adding more weapons to push the ball down the field.

Schmitz, a former baseball and basketball player and wrestler, said he admires how Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen plays the game.

“He’s one of the nastiest people on that field,” he said.

He admitted he would describe his own game as “nasty,” too.

“My toughness, my grit — the way I finish plays is what sets me apart from other people,” he said.

That’s why the Giants took Schmitz: to be nasty, to be the leader of their offense, to team up with Jones for a long time — to beef up for the Eagles.


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