Football: Junior left tackle Peter Skoronski declares for NFL Draft

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Daily file photo by Seeger Gray

Junior offensive lineman Peter Skoronski blocks against Wisconsin on Oct. 8. Skoronski announced his intentions to enter the 2023 NFL Draft, where he is expected to go early in the first round.

John Riker, Gameday Editor

Northwestern junior left tackle Peter Skoronski will forgo his senior season to declare for the 2023 NFL Draft, he announced on Twitter Friday morning. 

“It was not an easy decision to leave Northwestern University with eligibility remaining,” Skoronski said in his Tweet. “I had always planned to be here for four years, but Northwestern has put me in a position that allows me to leave early.”

Skoronski will leave Evanston as one of NU’s most accomplished players. 

On Thursday, he became the first Wildcat to be named a unanimous All-American and one of 15 consensus All-Americans in program history. His stellar junior season also saw him earning the Big Ten’s Rimington-Pace Offensive Lineman of the Year award and becoming a finalist for the Outland Trophy, which honors the top interior lineman in college football. Skoronski’s stellar play was one of few bright spots of NU’s 1-11 season.

A graduate of Maine South in Chicago’s Park Ridge suburb and one of the state’s top recruits, Skoronski became a star immediately upon arriving in Evanston. As a true freshman in 2020, he filled in for eventual first-round pick Rashawn Slater at the left tackle position and became an integral contributor to the Cats’ Big Ten West and Citrus Bowl titles. Skoronski earned All-Big Ten second team honors for his efforts in his first season, then followed it up with a All-Big Ten first team campaign as a sophomore. 

Skoronski’s impact on his teammates was just as profound. He served as one of NU’s five captains in the 2022 season and set the tone with his work in the weight room over the offseason, improving his squat by 120 pounds and bench press by 80 pounds, according to strength coach Jay Hooten. On an offense that started three different quarterbacks and dealt with a wave of injuries in its offensive line and tight end units, Skoronski provided consistency and leadership on the line’s most important position.

Skoronski joins fellow captains defensive lineman Adetomiwa Adebawore and running back Evan Hull in declaring for the NFL Draft, along with defensive back Cameron Mitchell and receiver Donny Navarro III. Pro Football Focus ranks him as the top offensive line prospect and a likely Top 10 selection. 

If selected in the first round, Skoronski would become the sixth NU player to achieve the feat. In the 2021 Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Slater, Skoronski’s predecessor at the left tackle position, with the 13th overall selection, while Cleveland Browns cornerback Greg Newsome II, his teammate in the 2020 season, was drafted 26th overall.Offensive tackle Chris Hinton currently holds the program’s record for highest selection with his fourth overall selection by the Denver Broncos in 1983.

Skoronski revealed in his post that he originally planned to stay all four years and that he intends to complete his degree after the draft. He’ll have quite the NFL legacy to live up to — his grandfather, Bob Skoronski, was inducted into the Green Bay Packers’ Hall of Fame in 1976 and also dominated defenses as a standout left tackle.

“My time at Northwestern was very special and I will forever be a Wildcat,” Skoronski said in his post. “I made memories and friends that will last a lifetime.”

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Twitter: @jhnriker

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