Draft 2021 – Pick #8: Ben Skowronek, WR, Notre Dame

Player Bio
Skowronek (pronounced sko-RON-eck) is a distant relative of 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack, so it seemed like providence that he wound up in South Bend as a graduate transfer from Northwestern. He suffered an injury in the 2020 opener that cost him two games but returned to contribute (29 receptions, 439 yards, 15.1 average, five touchdowns) in 10 starts before accepting an invitation to the Senior Bowl. Skowronek was a reliable receiver with the Wildcats for four years before making the move, though his 2019 campaign was cut to three starts (12 receptions, 141 yards, 11.8 average) because of a high-ankle sprain. He started all 14 games the previous year (45 receptions, 562 yards, 12.5 average, three touchdowns) after leading the team in receiving yards and scores (45 receptions, 644 yards, 14.3 average, five touchdowns) as a sophomore. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, native played in all 13 games as a reserve (eight receptions, 70 yards, 8.8 average) and on special teams as a true freshman in 2016. Lujack isn’t the only college football player in the family: Ben’s brother, Matt, walked on to Indiana as a safety and former Indiana and NFL quarterback Trent Green is an uncle by marriage. Green’s son, TJ, played with Skowronek at Northwestern. — by Chad Reuter

Draft Projection
Round 7/PFA

Highly competitive pass catcher with great size and good route technique but missing suddenness and long speed as an outside target. While Skowronek can make a roster as a backup receiver due to his matchup potential and overall skill level, a switch to move tight end would diminish his weaknesses and enhance his strengths. He’s a quick opener to eat up quick throws underneath, has the speed and athleticism to work the second level and occasionally get deep if teams aren’t careful about how they match up with him. He needs more weight but is already a plus run blocker who can handle blocking duties from the slot. Skowronek could be the next Robert Tonyan if given a chance at that spot.

  • Easy to feel his play passion and edge on tape.
  • Plays with excellent balance and body control.
  • Consistent play speed in his routes.
  • Choppy footwork for smoother transitions from his breaks.
  • Gets by cornerbacks who take him lightly when working deep.
  • Swings 50-50 throws in his favor if given the chance.
  • Excellent body extension and high-point control on jump balls.
  • Catches with sudden hands when needed.
  • Finishes runs after catch like a tight end.
  • Loves to fire off on defenders early in game as a blocker.
  • Consistent working up to back-side safety in run game.
  • Size and strength to pancake on perimeter and scrap near the line.
  • Lacks preferred speed to play outside.
  • Separation success declines against quality corners.
  • Too upright into his breaks.
  • Press coverage can stick with him around field.
  • Will see bigger bodies in NFL, mitigating his size advantage.
  • Below-average stop-start movements.
  • Needs to carve out more defined catch space underneath.
Sources Tell Us
“Really hard to match up with on jump balls in the red area. It feels like he’s about 6-foot-5 when you see him outside on cornerbacks.” — National scout for NFC team
By Lance Zierlein
NFL Analyst

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