2023 NFL Draft First Offensive Lineman to Be Selected: Does Peter Skoronski’s Flexibility Win Out?

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Peter Skoronski of Northwestern participates in a drill during the NFL Combine on March 05, 2023. Stacy Revere/Getty Images/AFP.

NFL Prop Pick: Peter Skoronski First Offensive Lineman To Be Selected (+145) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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The NFL draft is a great way for teams to restock their offensive line talent, and there is usually a prospect or two that goes high in the first round each year. Sixteen of the last 17 drafts have seen at least one offensive lineman drafted in the top 12 picks.

For the betting markets at the best sportsbooks in this year’s draft for offensive linemen, there is a two-man race at the top with another player in a distant third as we near April. Here are the NFL odds of the top three offensive linemen and who will go first in the draft from BetOnline:

  • OT Paris Johnson Jr., Ohio State (-125)
  • OT Peter Skoronski, Northwestern (+145)
  • OT Broderick Jones, Georgia (+475)

All three players started at the key left tackle position in the 2022 college football season, but many believe Peter Skoronski should excel at guard in the NFL. Does that versatility give him the edge over the competition when it comes to being the first offensive lineman drafted?

We make our NFL pick for the best value bet in this market below.

The Potential Landing Spots

In trying to figure out where these players are likely to go, we look at the team needs and draft order in the 2023 NFL draft.

There is an expected run on quarterbacks at the top with possibly the first three or four picks all going on the quarterback position. Many also see edge rusher Will Anderson (Alabama) going to Arizona with the No. 3 pick, but that pick could end up being traded for another quarterback pick. Defensive tackle Jalen Carter (Georgia) and corner Christian Gonzalez (Oregon) also tend to grade out higher than any offensive line prospects in this draft.

The first best spot for an offensive lineman has to be the Chicago Bears with the No. 9 pick. Their offensive line is unsettled, and quarterback Justin Fields needs help around him. The Bears may be less willing to go the wide receiver route after acquiring a No. 1 receiver in D.J. Moore from Carolina by trading the No. 1 pick and moving down to No. 9.

Another great spot is No. 11 with the Tennessee Titans. After nine seasons, left tackle Taylor Lewan is out, leaving a big hole. The Titans are also very vulnerable on the interior after releasing veteran center Ben Jones, who was with the team since 2016.

Finally, another great spot for these linemen is at No. 13, either with the Jets or Green Bay if that pick becomes part of an Aaron Rodgers trade that we keep hearing about. Both teams could use the help at left tackle with the health problems of David Bakhtiari and Mekhi Becton. We could see Johnson, Skoronski, and Jones all off the board in the first half of the first round.

Broderick Jones: The Dark Horse

The odds of Jones going first off the board for the linemen are not very good. He is considered a fine left tackle prospect, but few scouts are higher on him than the alternatives.

Jones was part of a special roster at Georgia that won two straight national championships. He was a red-shirt freshman, then was a backup before starting the final four games at left tackle in the 2021 championship season. He stayed there for all 15 starts in the 2022 season as Georgia repeated.

Jones is very athletic and will likely not last into the 20s in this draft, but he is likely to get passed over for more experienced offensive line prospects.

Paris Johnson Jr.: The Favorite

You can find Paris Johnson Jr. as the odds-on favorite to go first at BetOnline (-125) and Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) (-150). He is also versatile having played two different positions in his last two years for a very talented Ohio State offense.

In 2021, Johnson was the starting right guard in all 13 games. He made the move to left tackle for the 2022 season. He certainly has the size for it as he stands at 6’6” and over 310 pounds.

But not everyone is as sold on Johnson as an elite run-blocking lineman, which is something that would be crucial if he were to go to the Bears or Titans. NFL.com draft analyst, Lance Zierlein, writes that Johnson “bends at the waist and lacks ideal leverage as run blocker.”

Johnson will be considered a good left tackle prospect for the NFL, but he is unlikely to wow people in the way Jonathan Ogden, Walter Jones, Tony Boselli, Jake Long, or Joe Thomas did.

Peter Skoronski: The Value?

With Peter Skoronski, a team is getting a three-year starter at left tackle for Northwestern. But with his arm length and height (6’4”), many believe he can excel more at guard in the NFL or even start out at right tackle instead of the quarterback’s blind side. An unnamed NFC executive has said Skoronski is a Pro Bowl guard and an average tackle in the NFL.

But he does have the experience edge over the other two, and Skoronski grades out as the No. 1 lineman prospect at NFL.com. He did not play with nearly as much talent around him as the other two did at Georgia and Ohio State.

So, when you consider Northwestern was 1-11 and ranked No. 128 in scoring in 2022, the fact that Skoronski still garnered a first-team all-conference selection is impressive.

Conclusion: The Pick

It really seems like what the Chicago Bears do with the No. 9 pick is a big deal when it comes to these betting markets for the first offensive lineman and first wide receiver drafted. General manager Ryan Poles was with the Chiefs when they drafted left tackle Eric Fisher as No. 1 overall in 2013, a boring but necessary pick in a weak draft class.

People may want to see wide receivers for Fields, but an improvement at the offensive line is also necessary. With Skoronski playing in Illinois and being a potential standout at guard, that might be the best pick for the Bears as No. 9. Skoronski also could fit in well with Tennessee, which keeps releasing veteran linemen.

Either way, Skoronski feels like the best value pick at the best U.S. betting sites to make at this time.

NFL Prop Pick: Peter Skoronski First Offensive Lineman To Be Selected (+145) at BetOnline

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.