John Michael Schmitz, Center Minnesota
This is by far and away my favorite selection mocked to the Texans. It blinds talent and need better than peanut butter and jelly. It's a match made in heaven.
Some mock drafts have him going as early as the mid-20s, and others have him falling to the second round. I believe he will fall into the second round as the end of the first will have a run on tight ends. If he's there for the Texans he just makes too much sense.
Many have Schmitz rated higher than last year's first-round center selection for the Baltimore Ravens Tyler Linderbaum. Pro Football Focus gave him a 92.7 grade this past season, ahead of Linderbaum's 91. Schmitz is a very cerebral leader who was given the freedom to call protection from the line of scrimmage. That, coupled with his experience in a zone-blocking scheme over the last four years makes him the ideal style center for the Kyle Shanahan offense.
In his entire college career, Schmidt's allowed only two sacks to go along with 19 career pressures allowed. Yes, he didn't play against great competition up there in Minnesota, but he performed very well against some of the top-rated defensive linemen he faced at the Senior Bowl.
He was a redshirt senior and the main leader of that Minnesota squad. As we have been saying, DeMeco Ryans wants strong leaders on his team, and I believe he will target those types of players throughout the draft.
He consistently uses good footwork and strong hands to create holes, specifically in a zone-rushing scheme. If the Texans want to invest in their quarterback, getting a center who spent his entire college making the protection calls at the line of scrimmage is a great way to start.