The NFL is always on the lookout for potential starting offensive linemen — and tackles in particular. The athletic premium on the tackle position means that teams have plenty of motivation to draft them highly.
Northwestern left tackle Peter Skoronski has been regarded as one of the very best offensive linemen in the draft for some time now. He’s usually expected to be a high first round draft pick, but will he be a tackle at the NFL level?
Skoronski is a good athlete, but he lacks the prototypical length NFL teams usually like to see from first round tackles. Could that draft him down the draft board? And if it does, could he appeal to the New York Giants, who need interior offensive line help?
Giants fans are well aware of how well Justin Pugh and Zack Martin transitioned from tackle to guard. Could Skoronski follow in their footsteps?
Prospect: Peter Skoronski (77)
Games Watched: vs. Nebraska (2022), vs. Duke (2022), vs. Penn State (2022), vs. Wisconsin (2022)
Games Played: 33 (12 in 2022)
Best: Competitive toughness, play strength, run blocking, pass protection, feet
Worst: Length, hand usage, pass protection vs. speed
Projection: A starting offensive lineman with scheme and positional versatility.
(Skoronski is Northwestern LT number 77)
Northwestern’s Peter Skoronski is a stout, powerful, competitive, and surprisingly athletic offensive tackle prospect.
Skoronski is relatively short for the position at 6-foot-4, but has great thickness and evident power in his upper and lower body. Despite his stout build, he has a fluid and flexible lower half, allowing him to play with good leverage throughout the rep. Skoronski is a natural knee bender who maintains good hip and pad level as both a run blocker and pass protector.
He has a smooth and balanced kick-slide, allowing him to easily widen the pocket and match pass rushers off the edge. Skoronski always maintains some level of contact with the ground and is able to redirect to mirror inside moves, or anchor to absorb power rushes. To that end, he plays with a wide base helping to maintain his balance while engaged and use his feet to disperse power if he isn’t able to anchor immediately. Skoronski is quick to get into position with both a 45-degree set and a jump set, depending on the needs of the play.
He is also a capable and versatile run blocker who can execute in man-gap or zone blocking schemes. Skoronski does a very good job of maximizing his play strength with leverage, getting under defenders’ pads before uncoiling his hips and bowing them backward. He has enough athleticism to stress defenses laterally, as well as drive defenders off the line of scrimmage when blocking downhill.
Skoronski is a tough, nasty, and dogged blocker. He fights to sustain his blocks for as long as necessary, consistently looks for work, and is willing to block multiple defenders on the same play.
Teams may have concerns regarding Skoronski’s length. He lacks ideal height for an offensive tackle at the NFL level, and has (relatively) short arms as well. That lack of length can show up against longer or more athletic defenders.
Skoronski has a tendency to carry his hands low and his punches can initially land wide. He fights to seize inside leverage after his punch lands, and does so well enough that holding calls aren’t a concern. However, he can be jolted back by defenders who initially win inside leverage. That will be more of a concern against NFL caliber edge defenders who will be both longer and more athletic than what he regularly saw in college.
His issues with (initial) hand placement can be exacerbated against speed rushers. He can lose timing between his feet and hands against athletic edge rushers, and his hands can be wild.
Overall Grade: 8.4
Skoronski projects as a starting offensive lineman at the NFL level.
He played well at offensive tackle at the collegiate level, with his feet, play strength, and competitive toughness offsetting his lack of length. And he should at least be allowed to try and make a career for himself at offensive tackle at the NFL level. However, he has the traits to be a potentially elite guard convert in the mold of Zack Martin or Justin Pugh should he need to move inside.
Skoronski is built like a keg with arms and has a cask-strength nasty streak. He plays like he’s trying to start a fight every down and looks to finish the play with the defender on the ground whenever he’s able. Skoronski is a tenacious pass protector who fights through the echo of the whistle to keep his quarterback clean. If he’s initially beaten, he will make every effort to recover, or at least not lose the rep. Likewise, he is a dogged run blocker who fires off the ball with good leverage and consistently creates movement along the line of scrimmage.
He needs to hone his hand usage at the NFL level, as they have a tendency to come low and late. That’s only emphasized against speed rushers, which combined with his (relative) lack of length, could force him inside. But once he’s engaged, he still fights to win the hand battle and is able to seize inside leverage through sheer strength.
There’s a lot to like in Skoronski’s game, and coaches are sure to fall in love with him. He has a high floor and should be a good lineman wherever he ultimately winds up.