Titans Believe They Landed the Complete Package in Local Product Peter Skoronski
Seeing a local kid succeed always has a special feeling. So rooting for former Northwestern tackle Peter Skoronski was easy for anyone from the Chicagoland area, such as myself. But, admittedly, I was not overly eager to see Skoronski’s name called by our hometown team, the Chicago Bears.
I wasn’t alone. A large contingent of Bears fans preferred to see a bevy of other prospects hold up that Bears jersey on the stage at Union Station in Kansas City last week. Whether it was of Skoronski’s oft-cited arm length — or lack thereof — or simply because they preferred a different prospect, Skoronski to the Bears was not a popular pick among Bears fans. Well, most of them, anyway.
On Thursday night, the Bears could have chosen any offensive lineman in the draft, except for Paris Johnson Jr., who had already been selected by the Arizona Cardinals at the sixth spot.
The Maine South High School (Park Ridge, Ill.) alumn sat with 75 friends and family members at a place special to him, Piece Pizza in Wicker Park. Skoronski told The Athletic’s Dan Pompei that he and his family celebrated his baptism there 21 years ago. It could have also been the place where he was drafted by his hometown team. Although, Skoronski is a Packers fan, so don’t feel too bad that the Bears didn’t pencil his name onto the draft card at No. 10.
Skoronski told Pompei that he spent most of his time at Halas Hall during his local visit in the pre-draft process with offensive line coach Chris Morgan and only briefly chatted with GM Ryan Poles. It was apparent then that the Bears had little interest in Skoronski. Unfortunately for him, neither did his beloved Packers. Skoronski said that if he wasn’t a fan, the visit “would have been a waste of time.”
Skoronski went on 14 official visits in the pre-draft process. None more discouraging than the visit with the Atlanta Falcons. During their meeting, Skoronski quickly perceived that Falcons head coach Arthur Smith had no interest in him.
“The head coach was on me the second I got in there,” Skoronski said of Arthur Smith (via The Athletic). “I was giving them generic answers to their questions, and he said, ‘You’re really boring me right now. Your answers are so boring.’ The whole meeting, he kept looking at his computer. I was kind of laughing to myself and said, ‘Sorry, I don’t know what you want me to do. I’m answering you honestly.”
Fortunately for Skoronski, Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel took a liking to the Northwestern tackle. But that doesn’t mean Vrabel didn’t also have his share of concerns with Skoronski.
In the end, the Titans knew that Skoronski was their guy at No. 11. So much so that they passed on quarterback Will Levis to select him. The Titans then worked all evening to move back into the first round to take Levis. When that didn’t work, they moved into the top of the second round and selected Levis with the 33rd pick in the NFL Draft. Just like that, Tennessee got both of their guys.
Titans GM Ran Carthon called Skoronski a “complete offensive lineman.” He believed that so much that he made Skoronski the first draft pick of his career as an NFL GM.
“I thought he was a complete offensive lineman,” Carthon told The Athletic. “You like the efficiency he plays with. He’s one of those guys who just knows how to block his man and does it at a high level. The number one word I think of when I think about the way he plays is efficient.”
Now Skorosnki will head to Tennessee to start his NFL career. It’s a career that – by all indications – will be a very successful one, regardless of where he ends up playing on the Titans’ offensive line. But, for what it’s worth, Carthon doesn’t seem too worried about the much bandied-about arm-length discussion:
“He’s played at a high level against some high-round draft picks, NFL players with arm length,” he told The Athletic. “Although it doesn’t check a box you typically would want, he knows how to play the game within the confines of what he has.”
While Skoronski won’t be the hometown story that recent draft pick Cole Kmet has become, he’ll be a local success story nonetheless.