KANSAS CITY – Peter Skoronski huddled with over 100 family members, friends, coaches and former teammates at a pizzeria on Thursday night, waiting for his name to be called in the NFL Draft.
Eleven picks in, the Titans selected the big Northwestern offensive lineman.
It capped off an emotional night that included pizza, hugs, and just one beer.
“Everyone is so excited, and supportive of me,” Skoronski said on a Zoom call after being picked. “I had to run away into a corner to get the phone call (from the Titans). It’s just awesome to be surrounded by so many supportive people.
“I probably only had one beer – I had to stay locked in for the night. But tons of pizza, though – I’ve been eating.”
A first-team Associated Press All-American in 2022, the 6-foot-4, 313-pound Skoronski started 12 games for Northwestern last season, and 33 games over the past three seasons.
An Outland Trophy finalist in 2022, Skoronski was also a first-team All-American in 2021 as well. He was a two-time first-team All-Big Ten Conference selection at Northwestern.
Titans General Manager Ran Carthon said Skoronski is a player the Titans targeted all along.
“Peter checks all the boxes for us, and what we’re looking for in an offensive (lineman), and what we’re looking for in our program,” Carthon said. “He’s a guy that, truth be told, we targeted from the beginning, but we didn’t know if he was going to be there or not. So, we had other contingency plans in place. But we got lucky, and he was there, and so it made the pick real easy to pull off at 11.
“The player and the person checked all the boxes for us. So, we felt like who he was and what he brings here was easy.”
Titans Coach Mike Vrabel said the team will ultimately have to make a decision whether to start Skoroski out at tackle or guard.
Earlier this offseason the team signed former Eagles tackle Andre Dillard and former 49ers guard Daniel Brunskill in free agency.
Vrabel said it was a priority to improve the offensive line this offseason to get better at the line of scrimmage.
“He has great footwork, he plays square, and he’s strong,” Vrabel said of Skoronski. “You can watch some of these clips and these are 270-pound guys, 280-pound guys rushing on the edge or blocking down on a three technique, and he gets his hands on you, and for the most part they don’t go very far.
“I think he uses his mind; he is intelligent.”
Skoronski thinks the Titans are a great fit for his game, no matter where he ends up playing.
Others at the pizza party agreed.
“I am decently familiar (with the Titans) – obviously I know Derrick (Henry) is one of the best to run the ball in the league right now, so it’s going to be an honor to block for him,” Skoronski said. “I know they’re just a really physical team, a team that’s always competitive. I know they had a lot of injuries last year, and were still a really, really competitive team. So, I think that kind of mentality as an organization, I am really happy to be a part of, because the Titans are kind of known for that.
“I’ve already had family members come up to me at the party right now saying how much they respect the Titans, and how much they love the way they play. So, I am really happy to be a part of that.”
Skoronski’s grandfather, Bob Skoronski, was a team captain and won five titles with the Green Packers in the 1960s.
Since he was little, Peter Skoronski said he wanted to play in the NFL himself.
He’ll get his chance in Tennessee, with the Titans.
“I just wanted to follow in his footsteps and play in the NFL someday” Skoronski said. “It’s been a goal of mine since I knew was football was, so I’m super happy. I am happy to be carrying on his legacy.”