Heavy traffic operator
One of the early roles in DeSean Jackson’s career was the crossing route. His speed was such that no linebacker could cover him, and he was virtually always open when the secondary transitioned from covering him on one side to the other side. Of course, the heart of the defense may be open, but crossing routes take a heavy toll on one of the lighter NFL receivers.
That won’t be the case with Skowronek. While he cannot hope to accelerate to a DeSean Jackso-like speed, he is far more durable and has a much better pass catch radius for ending up with the ball. Because he can be goaded into mixing it up on the line of scrimmage, Skowronek must focus intensively upon getting a free release off the line of scrimmage.
Of course, once that is accomplished, he is good with close defenders while running his route. In fact, he can operate very well in heavy traffic. And the Rams have a quarterback who won’t hesitate to throw into traffic. Is this a win-win?
On paper so far, it appears to be.
Can Skowronek be as successful in the pros when the bodies pack tighter? There are reasons to believe that he can. His size will continue to be a bit of an advantage against defensive backs, although the Rams will need to create mismatches. But this young man is not timid, does not back down, and is emerging with confidence intact after OTAs. He was compared to Green Bay Packers’ tight end Robert Tonyan in his draft profile, and that is a valid NFL comparison.
Skowronek will certainly compete for roles on returns and coverage, but don’t limit the rookie to special teams just yet. He loves to bang bodies, and the LA Rams could use a boost to that mindset on offense.