Tyler Nubin, John Michael Schmitz Climbing NFL Draft Boards

Photo: Nick King - Lansing State Journal

The Minnesota Gophers could very well have a handful of 2023 NFL Draft prospects on their current roster. But there are two players, (S) Tyler Nubin and (C) John Michael Schmitz, who appear to be day-two (rounds 2 + 3) locks.

On the latest Top-100 Big Board at PFF, Tyler Nubin slotted in at #52 and John Michael Schmitz landed at #68. In PFF’s mock draft simulator, Nubin currently lands with the Lions most often (21% of drafts), followed by the Seahwawks (14%) and Eagles (11%). Schmitz is most often drafted by the Bears (27%), Seahawks (20%) and Steelers (20%).

Tyler Nubin NFL Draft Profile

Tyler Nubin was a 4-star (247Sports) high school prospect out of Illinois and someone PJ Fleck was extremely excited about on National Signing Day 2019. Since then, he’s blossomed into one of the best safeties in the Big Ten and shows the most NFL promise of any Gopher defensive back since Antoine Winfield Jr.

At 6’3″, 205 pounds, Nubin has the prototypical frame the pro scouts are looking for. And in the last two seasons, the production has come too. He’s followed up the three interceptions he totalled in 2021 with four so far in 2022.

Nubin has totalled 154 tackles in his college career and he’s shown improvement, both statistically and to the naked eye, each year. The type of progression NFL teams are looking for. Scouts will also love the way he plays special teams. Tyler is a lock to contribute week one, for whoever drafts him, even if he can’t win a starting safety job out of the gate.

John Michael Schmitz Draft Profile

John Michael Schmitz could have entered the NFL Draft after the 2021 season and he would’ve been a lock to be a mid-round pick. Instead, he returned to school as the bona fide leader of the Minnesota Gophers offensive line.

PFF loves this kid. His grades scored in the mid-80’s as an underclassman part-time starter (~450 snaps) in 2019 and 2020, before blossoming into one of the best centers in the country as an upperclassman. His 88.5 offensive grade in 2021 was good for 3rd best in the country. In 2022, his 92.0 grade is easily the best of any center in the NCAA. 2nd place doesn’t even hit 90.0.

There’s no doubt who the best center in the 2023 NFL Draft will be. It’s John Michael Schmitz and it’s really not close. Zone running teams will salivate over what JMS will allow them to scheme up in the ground game. The Minnesota Vikings, for example, would be a perfect fit.

Will Tyler Nubin Go Pro?

Schmitz is out of eligibility after this season and he’s a lock for the Reese’s Senior Bowl this offseason. Nubin, however, did not enter the season with the same type of draft hype as John Michael. Instead, it’s been Tyler’s stellar play through 11 games that has rocketed him up draft boards across football.

It hasn’t been confirmed that Tyler Nubin will go pro, like we know will happen with John Michael Schmitz. But last week on the Mackey & Judd Show, Darren Wolfson (KSTP, SKOR North) all but announced Nubin’s plans to enter the draft following the 2022 season. Tyler would later walk on Senior Day (vs Iowa), all but sealing his 2023 draft weekend envelope.

“I know a big agent who has tried to secure [Tyler Nubin’s] services and hasn’t even been able to track him down. Tyler Nubin is so popular right now, his value is not going to improve. Tyler Nubin needs to go pro, should go pro. The expectation is that Tyler Nubin will play his last game at Huntington Bank Stadium on Saturday (vs Iowa).”

Darren Wolfson (Mackey & Judd – SKOR North)

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan