After running through our honorable mentions and previous nine selections, Inside NU concludes its countdown of the Wildcats’ top 10 players from this past year with a name that should surprise nobody: Peter Skoronski.
Bradley Locker (1):
Stats: 12 games played, one sack allowed, six pressure allowed, five penalties committed (four accepted), 99.2 pass-blocking efficiency, 93.0 Pro Football Focus pass-blocking grade, 81.4 PFF run-blocking grade, 89.3 PFF overall grade
Throughout 2022, questions loomed large over Northwestern football. Who would start at quarterback? Could another offensive player step up besides Evan Hull? Which defender not wearing No. 99 would make a key stop?
However, one element of the ‘Cats’ season was never even remotely in doubt: how dominant Peter Skoronski would be along the left side of Kurt Anderson’s offensive line.
From 2020-22, Skoronski epitomized greatness at the left tackle position for NU. Despite a revolving door at quarterback and a woeful offense (and record) in the last two years, No. 77 consistently performed at the highest level play in and play out. It’s no coincidence that Skoronski was Northwestern’s highest-graded offensive player for his three years in Evanston.
Within the 2022 slate, Skoronski earned a PFF grade of at least 70 in 10 of 12 games; even more impressively, the junior eclipsed an 80.0 grade in four contests. While Skoronski did struggle at times, such as against Minnesota’s Jah Joyner, the vast majority of playing time involved the captain stonewalling defenders in either the pass or run game.
Skoronski’s three years of tape at Northwestern has very few blemishes, even when facing current NFL rookies like Aidan Hutchinson and George Karlaftis. Granted, there will be questions about his 6-foot-4 frame and arm length at the next level, but his technique, power, savvy and character cannot be denied.
With such a tremendous caliber of play comes a collection of awards a closet mantle could not fit. Unanimous First-Team All-American — the first in Northwestern history, by the way — Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year and three-time All-Big Ten selection are just some of the honors bestowed upon the Park Ridge, Ill. native. As for us at Inside NU, 13 of 14 writers ranked Skoronski as the Wildcats’ premier player this past year.
In the coming months, the grind of NFL Combine and Pro Day training will ensue for Skoronski, plus fellow Wildcat draft inductees such as Adetomiwa Adebawore, Cam Mitchell and Hull. As analysts pore over Skoronski’s tape and measurements, what should not be forgotten is how impactful and indelible his time with Northwestern was.