NFL Draft: Notre Dame WR Ben Skowronek goes in seventh round to Los Angeles Rams

Anthony Anderson
South Bend Tribune Correspondent

Wide receiver Ben Skowronek was selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams with the 249th overall pick Saturday in Cleveland.

Skowronek is the ninth Notre Dame player selected in this draft behind OT Liam Eichenberg (No. 42) to Miami, guard Aaron Banks (No. 48) to San Francisco, LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (No. 52) to Cleveland, TE Tommy Tremble (No. 83) to Carolina, OT Robert Hainsey (No. 95) to Tampa Bay, QB Ian Book (No. 133) to New Orleans, DE Daelin Hayes (No. 171) to Baltimore, and DE Adetokunbo Ogundeji (No. 182) to Atlanta.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Skowronek is from Fort Wayne and arrived at Notre Dame last spring as a graduate transfer from Northwestern.

His five touchdown catches led the 2020 Irish. He finished with 29 receptions overall for 439 yards, those figures ranking fourth and third, respectively, on the team, to go with a 15.1 average while appearing in 10 of ND’s 12 games. He also had a 13-yard rushing TD.

Notre Dame wide receiver Ben Skowronek led the team in touchdown catches with five.

Injuries have been a recurring obstacle for Skowronek. Hamstring issues hindered him prior to last season and cost him game time early on.

A January foot injury that has been described as a Jones fracture took him out of the Senior Bowl and he did not participate in ND’s Pro Day on March 31 while continuing to rehab.

“I believe my film speaks for itself,” Skowronek said. “You can see me catching balls, pancaking guys, being physical. Honestly, I wasn’t too worried about missing testing, because I don’t think it’s going to make or break me. I think I have a really good film.”

Skowronek appeared in just three games during his senior year at Northwestern before suffering a season-ending high-ankle sprain.

Over his sophomore and junior seasons, however, he started all of the Wildcats’ 27 games and made 90 catches for 1,206 yards with eight touchdowns. He also appeared in all of the team’s 13 games as a true freshman in 2016.

What they were saying

  • “A big target and a solid route runner. Really think he could bulk up and become a hybrid tight end.” — Weekly Spiral
  • “The good: long-limbed receiver that can win in contested-catch situations. Flashes strong hands and plucks the ball out of the air consistently. Can threaten vertically with enough juice to scare defenses. … The bad: limited route runner overall, is not overly dynamic in and out of cuts. Lacks adequate functional play strength and will have a tough time as a blocker in the NFL.” — Steeler Depot reporter Josh Carney
  • “While Skowronek can make a roster as a backup receiver due to his matchup potential and overall skill level, a switch to 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.” — draft analyst Lance Zierlein
Golden Notre Dame moment

Made three touchdown catches in a 45-31 win at Boston College in mid-November, finishing the day with 63 yards on five receptions.

5 Things to know about Skowronek

1 — He’s related to Irish legend and 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack. Alice Skowroenk, the sister of Ben’s great grandfather, Stanley, was Lujack’s mom.

2 — Older brother Matt was a walk-on safety at IU, and father Dave played college basketball at Penn State Fayette.

3 — ESPN’s Mel Kiper rated Skowronek as the 34th-best receiver available, while colleague Todd McShay had him 36th.

4 — Was a starter on Homestead’s 2015 Class 4A basketball state title team that featured future college standouts Caleb Swanigan and Jordan Geist.

5 — Turns 24 on June 27, placing him among the older players in this year’s draft pool.

Ben Skowronek was a graduate transfer from Northwestern who was an important addition to the Notre Dame receiving corps.
Notre Dame wide receiver Ben Skowronek celebrates after scoring a touchdown against Boston College.