From now until the 2023 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to scout and create profiles for as many prospects as possible, examining their strengths, weaknesses, and what they can bring to an NFL franchise. These players could be potential top 10 picks, all the way down to Day 3 selections and priority undrafted free agents Today, I’ll be profiling Northwestern OL Peter Skoronski.
#77 Peter Skoronski, OL, Northwestern (Junior) – 6040, 315lb
|Player||Ht/Wt||Hand Size||Arm Length||Wingspan|
|Peter Skoronski||6’4, 315lb||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|40-Yard Dash||10-Yard Dash||Short Shuttle||3-Cone|
|Broad Jump||Vertical||Bench Press|
— Has decent size and height on a sturdy frame
— High-pedigree guy with good bloodlines and proven production
— Took over for Rashawn Slater as a true freshman and never looked back
— Impressive football IQ as a run blocker and pass protector
— Plus-athlete for his size, being able to pull, climb to the second level, and work in space
— Does a good job down-blocking DL to create running lanes
— Can pull from the tackle spot and reach block defenders out on the edge
— Has good leg drive on contact as a run blocker, showing effort to and through the whistle
— Will torque defenders by turning their shoulders, allowing backs to run off his backside into the second level
— Technically sound in pass protection regarding his punch and footwork
— Has active, ready hands in pass protection with his punch often landing inside the defender’s chest
— Plays with an active kick step in his pass set, covering enough ground to seal off the edge
— Will change up his pass set to keep pass rushers guessing or to better handle his competition
— Good mover laterally, being able to mirror pass rushers
— Anticipates the counter inside and can cut off pass rushers with a quick adjustment
— Plays with a strong base and anchor in pass protection to stall the rush
— Can be position-versatile as a tackle or guard
— Should be able to play in power, gap, or zone-based blocking systems
— Undersized for the position regarding his height and arm length
— Isn’t the heaviest blocker, causing him to have occasional issues versus power
— Arm length causes him to reach and overextend on blocks, leading to defenders keeping him off their frame
— Will lunge forward on short yardage situations in attempt to generate a push, dropping his head and whiffing on occasion
— Lacks pure size and length to properly seal off the inside against stunting defenders if he fails to get hands on to delay their rush
— Played tackle in college, but size concerns may relegate him to guard at the next level
— Junior Prospect from Park Ridge, Illinois
— Born July 31, 2001 (age 21)
— Four-star prospect in high school as a center, recorded 173 pancakes in three seasons
— High school state champion and lettered three times in basketball and track and field
— National Honor Society member in HS
— Grandfather, Bob, played for the Packers’ Vince Lombardi and was a captain on five NFL Championship teams
— Stepped into Rashawn Slater’s role at left tackle as a true freshman during the 2020 COVID-shortened season, starting nine games
— Started all 12 games as a sophomore in 2021
— Started all 12 games as a junior in 2022
— Won the Rimington Award as the country’s best OL in 2022
— 2022 AP First Team All-American, 2022 All-Big Ten First Team, 2021 All-Big Ten First Team, 2020 All-Big Ten Second Team, 2020 True Freshman All-American
Peter Skoronski from Northwestern is one of the cleanest prospects in this draft class. When looking at his resume alone, you see a player that has succeeded everywhere he has gone. Being the grandson of former Packers’ great Bob Skoronski, Peter appeared destined to find a home on the offensive line. He was a four-star recruit as a center and had plenty of offers to better football schools but opted to stay in-state and attend Northwestern. He was tasked with jumping in and immediately replacing Pro Bowler Rashawn Slater as a true freshman, and Skoronski didn’t miss a beat. He started every game he played at LT, becoming a unanimous All-American and the best pass blocker in the country according to Pro Football Focus.
When you pop in the tape on Skoronski, you see a cerebral, technically-sound offensive lineman that is battle-tested against some of the country’s best. His pass set and punch allow him to pick up some of the best defenders in college football as we see in this clip against Aidan Hutchinson last season, picking up the inside rush and sealing him off from getting inside the pocket.
Despite being smaller than typical OTs, one thing that stood out to me about Skoronski is the ground he can cover in pass protection with his kick step. Notice here how he violently drives that left leg back on the snap of the football to set the depth of the pocket, being somewhat like Packers LT David Bakhtiari in the way he gains ground quickly in his pass set. The defender fails to get the corner and Skoronski keeps him in front of his frame to stop the rush altogether.
Skoronski is a player with a high IQ on the offensive line, being able to recognize twists and stunts upfront and adjust to what the defensive line is doing in front of him. On this rep, we see Skoronski pick up the twist by the tackle and end, keeping the defender out of the pocket to give Hilinski time to throw.
While Skoronski lacks ideal size and brute strength, his technical skill paired with his effort often makes up for the physical deficiencies. Here in the run game, we watch Skoronski combo up to the backer in the box, latching on and turning his shoulders just enough to spring his running back free into the second and third level of the defense. He ends up fumbling the ball, but a great block to get him into the open field.
Skoronski’s ability to torque and maneuver defenders as a run blocker sticks out on tape. His hand placement and grip strength paired with his active lower half enable him to move defensive linemen and turn them away from the football, creating a pathway for the runner off his backside. Watch this rep of Skoronski blocking #9 Zach Harrison turning him back toward the inside of the LOS as the back reaches the hole, springing the runner into the second level for a first down.
Peter Skoronski is a fluid athlete for his size, having the mobility to lead block out in space, climb to the second level, or pull across the LOS. Watch the first clip of Skoronski pulling from the LT spot, picking up the backer to spring #26 Evan Hull into the secondary for a long TD. In the second clip, we watch Skoronski reach block Hutchinson on the left side, keeping him from getting to the receiver on the jet sweep run to the left sideline.
Skoronski also has a strong lower half to move defenders off their spot as a run blocker as well as sit in and anchor as a pass protector. Watch this rep against Nebraska where the running back runs off the backside of Skoronski into the end zone while Skoronski neutralizes the DE from getting any penetration in an attempt to collapse the hole, stalemating him to give the runner the space to plunge into the end zone for six.
Still, there are some instances on tape that highlight Skoronski’s physical flaws. He doesn’t have the longest arms and doesn’t have ideal size at the position, lacking the physical strength to overcome power moves on the edge. On this rep, we see Skoronski get out of his stance quickly, but allow the defender’s hands inside his chest as he crosses his face on the bull rush, getting pressure on Hilinski as he lets go of the pass.
Here’s another example where we see the pass rusher use straight power to walk Skoronski back into the back of the QB in the pocket, nearly letting the defender get to his QB who manages to get the ball off just in time.
Skoronski also has a bad habit of lunging forward with his head down in short-yardage situations, looking to get into his opponent quickly in an attempt to get a push at the LOS. This often results in Skoronski getting off-balanced and whiffing on the block entirely as you can see from these two separate instances against Ohio State where Skoronski’s pads are over his toes, falling off the block on two failed short-yardage attempts.
Overall, Peter Skoronski is a fundamentally sound, experienced blocker that brings a diverse skill set and a high floor to the table as a prospect. His physical deficiencies regarding his lack of ideal size and length may limit his overall upside and potential at the next level, but Skoronski should be a player that could start for nearly every team on the offensive line, whether it be outside at tackle or inside at guard. Some teams may try Skoronski at tackle first and see if he can hold his own there, or if the lack of length and pure size will hinder him. I personally see him being a suitable tackle at the next level, but a potential Pro Bowler at guard if moved inside.
While watching Skoronski, I saw shades of Packers LT David Bakhtiari given his pass set, consistency, and lack of ideal height. Still, Bakhtiari is one of the best in the game and has far longer arms than Skoronski. While former tackle converts Zack Martin was also another interesting comp, I settled on current Cardinals OL Justin Pugh as an accurate comparison for Skoronski at the NFL level.
Pugh was also a LT in college at Syracuse, having great mobility and technique to dominate in college. However, his frame (6’4, 307lb, 32” arms) presented similar concerns like Skoronski’s. The Giants selected Pugh at 19th overall in 2013 where he has started 119 games and has become a consistent, reliable starter at guard for a decade in the league.
I think that Skoronski could go in a similar range in the draft, being very much in play for the Steelers at #17 overall should they choose to show interest. With other tackles like Paris Johnson Jr. and Broderick Jones presenting better physical packages, Skoronski could be available at this juncture.
While his potential is capped due to his physical limitations, I do think that he can play at a high level and become a Pro Bowl-caliber player one day. Pittsburgh could draft Skoronski to be a suitable replacement for Kevin Dotson at guard, giving the team a more consistent, reliable presence inside with Dotson being a free agent next spring. However, Skoronski could also get reps at LT in training camp, pushing Dan Moore Jr. for the blindside protector role should he arm length prove not to be as much of an issue. Skoronski may not be a sexy pick, but he is proven, polished, and should be able to contribute immediately Year 1.
Projection: Day One
Depot Draft Grade: 8.8 – Year 1 Quality Starter (1st Round)
Games Watched: vs Ohio State (2022), vs Nebraska (2022), at Michigan (2021)