4 American OL the Chicago Bears must watch at Senior Bowl

Chicago Bears - Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Bears, John Michael Schmitz
Chicago Bears – Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

Chicago Bears Senior Bowl Scouting: John Michael Schmitz, C – Minnesota

I am saving the best two for last. I know I wasn’t going to allow the Senior Bowl practices to sway me at all, but I have to talk about how John Michael Schmitz, a guy I was high on before practices started on Tuesday, has been putting on a clinic for the American team. Schmitz is easily the top center prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. Had the Bears still had their own second-round pick, he’d be someone I’d consider at 33 (technically 32 with Miami forfeiting their first-round pick). Now, I’m not sure he falls to them at 54 (the Ravens’ second-rounder the Bears own).

If Schmitz is falling into the mid-second round, I’d be willing to move up to snag him. That is how good this kid looks and how important an upgrade at center would be to this team in my opinion. Sam Mustipher improved as the season progressed, but the team still needs to upgrade the position. Schmitz would walk on as an instant starter over Mustipher or Lucas Patrick.

Schmitz is 6’4″ and 306 pounds — the build Ryan Poles likes to see. He has a great burst off the snap and is very good with his reach blocks. This is important for a center. He is a mauler too, unlike Mustipher or Patrick. He has a nastiness to him that would pair nicely with Teven Jenkins should his injury not derail his career. He is strong too, constantly putting defenders out of position or even pancaking them on their backsides. His biggest flaw is his footwork, but that could easily be improved with proper NFL coaching.