The New York Jets hold the 13th overall pick in the NFL draft. Based on mock drafts, a potential pick for the Jets is an offensive tackle.
As I’ve previously written about, I think the likelihood of this occurring is a considerably less than the norm. However, I do think there is one offensive line prospect that may make a great deal of sense for the New York Jets if he is there at 13: Northwestern Offensive Tackle Peter Skoronski.
To begin, Skoronski’s college career was a rousing success, culminating in the 6th highest ProFootballFocus (PFF) grade among college tackles this season. As further detailed by PFF:
It’s not easy to succeed at left tackle in the Big Ten, and it’s next to impossible to do so as a true freshman, but that’s exactly what Skoronski did in 2020 when Rashawn Slater opted out of the season. He has posted 80.0-plus grades in all three years protecting the blindside and had his best year yet this past season, as his 93.0 pass-blocking grade led all tackles in the country while his 1.3% pressure rate allowed ranked second. Like Slater, Skoronski’s length will have some questioning if he can stick at tackle in the NFL, but his tape warrants giving him a shot there.
Beyond the tape, Skoronski is a great athlete for an offensive lineman with a Relative Athletic Score (RAS) of 9.31 as an offensive tackle, 9.88 among offensive guards, and 9.96 among centers, which can be accessed at https://ras.football/. Within the more narrow drills, the lone concern with his profile is his time on the three-cone drill, which was closer to average (score of 5) than elite (score of 10); this is notable given the value of the three-cone drill in predicting the success of offensive lineman.
Like many tackles with shorter length, it has been debated whether Skoronski is more likely to stay at guard or tackle. For the Jets, a team with two locked in guards and arguably two locked in tackles for the 2023 season, that kind of versatility may do little good in improving their 2023 win total, lessening the potential appeal of Skoronski at 13. However, Skoronski’s history has another wrinkle that may be relevant to the Jets and could potentially change that calculation.
Skoronski was part of the 2020 high school football recruiting class. Within this class, Skoronski was the #1 rated center. Notably, the Jets are currently without an established center after allowing Center Conner McGovern to test free agency and failing to acquire a replacement. For the Jets, this may make Skoronski an especially appealing option because he can shift to center within year 1 and then potentially move to a perceived “more valuable” offensive line position in later years based on how the careers of other players progress. Specifically, they could opt to move him from center to a position that opens up based on retirement (e.g., left tackle Duane Brown), injury or poor performance (e.g., right tackle Mekhi Becton), or contract expiration (e.g., left guard Laken Tomlinson). Through this wrinkle in Skoronski’s background, he could have both short-term and long-term appeal to the New York Jets, making him an interesting option if he were on the board when they pick at 13.