It is always fascinating when a real blue chip NFL prospect plays for a truly awful team. Such is the case with Peter Skoronski, an intensely athletic offensive tackle who protects his quarterback with the best of them. He can also play center and could see himself slotting in at that position too.
Northwestern is really bad these days, like back to the 1980s Dark Ages of NU athletics bad. NU finished 1-11 this season, having dropped 16 of their last 17.
Northwestern is 1-9 in league play in three of the last four seasons. It almost defies the odds to be this bad. But that is college football, just like the games you play at casino roar, you just don’t know what is going to happen. It’s unpredictable, as the games are won or lost in real life, not on paper, with the probabilities.
Skoronski have blue chip draft stock while on a terrible team is a bit reminiscent of when Robert Holcombe was the first fullback taken, in the early second round of the 1998 NFL Draft.
His Illini teams went 2-20 during his final two years in school. Or when the Illini went 5-5-1 in 1995, and they produced the #2 and #3 overall picks in the 1996 NFL Draft in Kevin Hardy and Simeon Rice.
Football is a funny game, played with an oblong ball, and weird things happen. Getting back to Skoronski, look at any NFL mock draft, anywhere, and you’ll see him in the top ten overall picks, sometimes in the top five.
This forecast is very well deserved too. He’s got the goods to be the first OL selected.
“Peter Skoronski, I think the first word that jumps out to me about Peter is toughness; there’s a toughness about his game,” said Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald.
“Then the second would be consistent. He’s got a great body of work throughout his entire career. Those two things jump out along with a lot of other things, but it’s gonna be a very talented field. There’s no doubt it’ll be a lot of fun, and that’s what you enjoy doing. It’s fun to compete and have success.
“You’ve gotta make it, you’ve got to earn it, you’ve gotta go do it. That’s what I know our guys are prepared to go do.”
The predecessor to Skoronski, Rashawn Slater, went 13th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, to the LA Chargers. He’s filled in admirably, in Evanston. Maybe a mini-tradition is starting at that position here.
“He’s athletic, moves well, and is smooth,” said an AFC Director of player personnel to Walter Football.
“He has very short arms, like 32 inches – he plays with better length than he has – but he doesn’t have a tackle body and looks more like a guard. Some guys I have spoken with compare him to Jonah Williams and some others have said Jonah Jackson.”
In writing up their scouting report, Walter Football wrote of him: “Some teams will project the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Skoronski to guard, although others might think he can remain at tackle.”
His current team might be bad, but the future is looking very bright for Peter Skoronski.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.