Not much went right for Northwestern football in 2022, but one of the bright spots was the outstanding play of offensive lineman Peter Skoronski, a projected top-15 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Earning the highest pass-blocking grade in all of college football by PFF (93.0), Skoronski won the Remington-Pace Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year award, becoming the first Northwestern player to receive that honor.
Skoronski will look to follow in the steps of former Wildcat Rashawn Slater in becoming a first-round pick and developing into a starting NFL tackle, but how much upside does he provide long-term?
Reasons to buy in to Peter Skoronski
One of the first things that jumps off the screen to me with Skoronski is his nearly-impeccable footwork. His feet are never sluggish off the snap, and they are always moving in correlation with his body. On top of that, he displays a beautiful kick slide that puts him in good position in his pass sets.
I also love how Skoronski uses his hands. he is accurate landing his punches, and his hand placement is consistent, allowing him to win the battle for leverage despite having a smaller frame and only average strength. As a run defender, Skoronski does a great job of keeping his pads low and maintaining good body alignment.
Another strong aspect of Skoronski’s game is his quickness off the snap. He displays a great sense as to when the ball is being snapped, and he is quick to square up as he goes into his pass sets. Skoronski’s awareness and mental discipline cannot be ignored either, as he makes accurate pre-snap assessments while rarely being the cause of any pre-snap penalties or commotion.
Reasons for concern with Peter Skoronski
There is nothing in Skoronski’s game that cannot be fixed, but nonetheless, there are still a couple tiny blemishes on his resume. The most noticeable issues come when faced against defenders with length. When he leaves his chest exposed, he opens a door for longer defenders to get their hands on him and drive him off his base. His shorter arms make it more difficult for him to keep defenders away as they come around the edge, which is why some NFL scouts may see him as a guard at the next level.
Peter Skoronski highlights
In this footage, you will see both the good and the bad with Skoronski. As evidenced below, he does a great job locking onto opponents in the trenches, but his balance can get shifted when matched against longer pass rushers. His matchup against Ohio State’s J.T. Tuimoloau was quite possibly the most challenging of his career.
2023 NFL Combine results for Peter Skoronski
Skoronski’s testing numbers were solid across the board in Indy, running a 5.16 40-yard dash with a 1.75 10-yard split, jumping 34.5” in the vertical and 115” in the broad, and recording a 7.8 flat in the 3-cone drill. He also put up 30 reps on the bench. The biggest question, however, was his arm length. At 6’4”, 313 pounds, Skoronski’s arms measured 32.25 inches, which is below the typical threshold for offensive tackles.
What others are saying
Here is a portion of what ESPN’s Todd McShay said about Skoronski in his latest mock draft:
Offensive tackles ideally have 34-inch length or more. But he is sudden, almost always balanced in his set and powerful. And the explosion showed up in his vertical (34.5 inches) and broad jump (9-foot-7), both second-best among offensive linemen.
Here is a portion of what Bradley Locker from Behind the Steel Curtain had to say in his scouting report for Skoronski on the BTSC Big Board:
Skoronski would be in the conversation to be the No. 1 overall pick if his frame were only slightly larger. His technique is largely impeccable, meshing punches with a rock-solid anchor, great hand placement and outstanding leverage. Make no mistake about it: Skoronski is ridiculously strong, and if he gets his hands on you, it’s awfully tough to wrestle free. Skoronski’s best work may have come in the pass game, where he surrendered only six pressures (!) and one sack all year. On occasion, Skoronski can struggle with bull rushes and extremely quick moves, but he secured the quarterback’s blindside at a very high rate. In the run game, too, Skoronski moves bodies, gets to the second level and is shrewd.
To me, Skoronski can definitely play tackle in the NFL, but even if teams consider him a guard, he’s likely a plug-and-play starter with the capacity to be one of the best players in this year’s crop.
Going solely off the tape, I see no reason why Skoronski cannot remain at tackle in the NFL. Nonetheless, his promising projection at guard only raises his floor as a prospect. If he cannot handle NFL athletes on the edge, he has enough athleticism and physicality to move inside and still carve out a productive NFL career.