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WR Ben Skowronek, HOU (1 Viewer)


Appearing on FOX NFL Sunday, Jay Glazer reported Rams seventh-round rookie WR Ben Skowronek will start Monday night against the 49ers and fill Robert Woods' (knee) role.

The Rams have a "package" of plays drawn up for Odell Beckham in his Rams debut, but Glazer noted OBJ and Woods "play different positions" among the wide receiver group. It sounds like Van Jefferson might be the biggest loser in the Rams' wideout room after OBJ's signing. Skowronek has played 37 offensive snaps this season, catching all three of his targets for 30 yards. He's huge at 6'3/224 and will help out in the blocking department after Woods was so crucial in that area of his game. We doubt Skowronek sees many targets.

Nov 14, 2021, 12:17 PM ET
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Ben Skowronek is overcoming long odds in the NFL

The irony of former Irish wide receiver Ben Skowronek ending up a 2021 draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams before becoming an important rookie on their 53-man roster this season isn’t lost on former 16-year NFL journeyman quarterback Trent Green. 

Skowronek was selected by the Rams in the seventh round (No. 249 overall), while Green, who played his college ball at Indiana University, was chosen by the San Diego Chargers in the eighth round (No. 222 overall) of the 1993 draft.

Neither Skowronek nor Green was given much of a chance to make an opening-day roster with the teams they were drafted by — only about 25 percent of picks after the fifth round secure a spot. 

But Green parlayed his late draft status into two NFL Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl championship in 1999 with the Rams as a backup to Kurt Warner. And 22 years later, Skowronek is also trying to buck the odds and win a ring with the same franchise. 

The connection? 

Green is Skowronek’s uncle and a supportive mentor that has stayed close to his nephew all the way from youth football though draft night, and presumably beyond.

“Congrats to my nephew,” Green tweeted the night of Skowronek’s draft selection. “It doesn’t matter when you are picked, it’s what you do after. I’m in your corner 100 percent.” 

The respect is mutual between two relatives from different generations. 

In a recent interview with Rams team reporter Sarina Morales, Skowronek explained that Green’s feedback is always positive, welcome and valuable. 

“He’s given me advice since I was a kid, so I’ve looked up to him,” Skowronek said of his uncle’s influence. “… I think he’s the reason I fell in love with the game of football. Just being able to go to his NFL games, going out on the field after the games, just talking to players. Because of him, I became obsessed with the game of football.”

Immediately after being drafted by the Rams in April, Skowronek’s family found an old picture of Green, an NFL quarterback, standing with Skowronek, a scrawny grade-school-aged player, on the field after a Rams game. 

“I was like, ‘Wow, that little kid actually grew up to be drafted by the Rams,’” Skowronek recalled of seeing the photo for the first time. “It was kind of surreal when it came full circle like that.” 

Skowronek is the latest budding branch on an already robust family tree of star athletes. 

Ben’s father, Dave, played college basketball, his older brother Matt was a walk-on safety at Indiana, and countless cousins were and are standout athletes in a variety of sports at the high school, college and even Olympic levels. 

Skowronek earned two varsity letters playing basketball at Homestead High School in Fort Wayne, Ind., and helped his team win an Indiana High School Athletic Association Class 4A state championship in 2015.

But perhaps the trunk of the family tree is what’s most interesting. 

Skowronek is a generational relative to Notre Dame’s 1947 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Lujack, who also lives in California, and at 96 is the oldest living Heisman Trophy winner. 

Alice Skowronek, the sister of Ben’s great-grandfather Stanley, was Lujack’s mother. 

“Athletics have always been a very important part of our family,” Skowronek said. “We’re all very competitive.” 

Change of scenery

Not unlike the veteran leadership and notable productivity that Irish quarterback 

Jack Coan carried with him from Wisconsin when he arrived to Notre Dame as a graduate transfer in 2021, Skowronek brought a similar profile when he came to campus as a graduate transfer from Northwestern in 2020. 

A productive player for the Wildcats, Skowronek started all 27 games as a sophomore and junior at Northwestern and recorded 90 catches for 1,206 yards with eight touchdowns. 

But in the same way a foot injury cost Coan his starting spot with the Badgers in 2020, an ankle injury cost Skowronek all but three games of his senior season with the Wildcats in 2019, which dropped him down the depth chart and led to short courtship and quick graduate transfer to Notre Dame in 2020. 

“I’ve been through college football. I’ve played four years,” Skowronek explained of what he called an “easy” relocation decision. “I kind of knew exactly what I wanted in a program. I knew what to look for. Notre Dame checked every box.” 

Skowronek finished his one season at Notre Dame in 2020 with 29 receptions and 439 yards, including a team-high five touchdown catches and plenty of pre-draft assuredness. 

At 6-foot-3 and 224 pounds, Skowronek’s lanky build, long strides and sneaky speed make him a versatile target. 

“I believe I’m one of the most unique prospects in this draft with my height, weight and speed, as well as my physicality, ball skills, just my overall football skills,” said Skowronek, who has also become a valuable kickoff returner for the Rams. “You can pop on the tape and I’m going to set myself apart from the majority of those prospects.” 

Tall, big, lanky and basketball athletic, Skowronek was a jump-ball weapon and a deep-ball threat for both of his college teams, while at the same time, he became the highest rated run-blocking wide receiver in the NCAA last season, according to Pro Football Focus. 

A foot injury kept Skowronek out of Senior Bowl and the Notre Dame pro day workouts earlier this year, but unafraid of going unnoticed, this marginal NFL prospect was certain his body of work and skill set would stand out during player evaluations. 

“I believe my film speaks for itself,” Skowronek said confidently before the draft. “You can see me catching balls, pancaking guys, being physical.”

Depth-chart shuffling and in-house contract conflicts have helped to lift Skowronek to the No. 4 wide receiver for the Rams. He played a career-high 20 snaps in a 38-22 win over Houston Oct. 31 and caught all three of his targets in the game for 30 yards, his first career receptions. 

With growing responsibilities on one of the best teams in the NFL, Skowronek relishes his chance to sponge off standout teammates such as Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. 

“Obviously the receiver room is super talented and that’s awesome for me being a young guy, coming in here and just being able to learn from vets who are so good at what they do. I’m obviously going to steal stuff from their game, being able to watch them, ask them questions,” Skowronek explained. “But at the end of the day, I’m not going to try to be anybody else. I’m going to try to be the best version of myself. 

“I’m really excited to keep growing and see where it goes.”

Rams WR Ben Skowronek (thigh) is active for Monday night's Week 10 game against the 49ers.

He was listed questionable. Skowronek is a seventh-round rookie, but FOX's Jay Glazer reported Sunday that Skowronek is expected to "start" in place of Robert Woods (knee) this week. It's anybody's guess as to how many snaps Odell Beckham will play four days after signing with the Rams.

Nov 15, 2021, 7:00 PM ET

Ben Skowronek caught 1-of-5 targets for eight yards in the Rams’ Week 10 loss to the 49ers.

On 46 Matthew Stafford drop-backs, Skowronek ran 35 routes as the Rams’ WR3 in the first game without Robert Woods (knee), as Odell Beckham was eased into the offense with 11 routes. Skowronek’s five targets tied for fourth on the team. He had a potential 10-yard touchdown go through his hands on a bit of a high throw. When the Rams come out of their bye in Week 12 at Green Bay, we expect the Rams’ three-wide set to be Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, and OBJ.

Nov 16, 2021, 10:10 AM ET

Ben Skowronek caught 2-of-5 targets for 12 yards in the Rams' Super Bowl LVI victory over the Bengals. 

One of Skowronek's missed connections was a bobble that led to a Matthew Stafford interception. Humorously billed as the Rams’ Robert Woods fill-in after Woods tore his ACL on Nov. 12, seventh-round rookie Skowronek unsurprisingly ended up buried behind Cooper Kupp, Odell Beckham and Van Jefferson. When Skowronek was featured, he appeared shaky and mistake-prone, committing a hellacious touchdown drop in the NFC Championship Game, one that could have cost the Rams the conference title. Although the coaching staff liked Skowronek enough to talk him up to the likes of Jay Glazer, he will be elderly for a second-year pro in 2022, turning 25 in June. Skowronek nevertheless remains a name to file away because of Beckham’s free agency, Woods’ injury and the fact that he plays a different role than Jefferson.



Ben Skowronek caught 4-of-6 targets for 25 yards in the Rams' Week 1 loss to the Bills.​

The targets were a new career high while the catches tied Skowronek's previous high-water mark. Unlike the case during some of Skowronek's 2021 closeups, he didn't have any major miscues, though he was the culprit on a Rams false start. With Allen Robinson looking like a ghostly presence opposite Cooper Kupp, Skowronek could be needed for a lot more targets than expected for as long as Van Jefferson (knee) is on the shelf, but he isn't a recommended Week 2 dart throw against the Falcons.
Sep 9, 2022, 12:14 AM ET

Ben Skowronek caught all four of his targets for 66 yards in the Rams' Week 3 win over the Cardinals.​

Skowronek's catches and yards both led the team on a day Matthew Stafford attempted a two year-low 25 passes, accruing 249 scoreless yards. Skowronek has been playing close to 90% of the offensive snaps to begin the season and will continue to do so with Van Jefferson (knee) going to I.R. over the weekend. Skowronek is mainly a blocker and not a fantasy target for Week 4 against the 49ers.
Sep 25, 2022, 8:09 PM ET

Ben Skowronek caught 5-of-5 targets for 40 yards in the Rams' Week 6 win over the Panthers, adding a 17-yard touchdown rush.

Skowronek's rushing score came on a fly sweep. The 5/40 effort was Skowronek's second straight. He has cleared 40 yards in 3-of-4 games. Today's effort did come as Allen Robinson finally got going for 5/63/1. Matthew Stafford was also facing less pressure than usual despite losing LT Joe Noteboom to an early ankle issue. A reliable receptacle of safe looks, Skowronek will remain a low-upside WR5 when the Rams come off bye in Week 8 against the 49ers.


Rams coach Sean McVay said Ben Skowronek (calf) is out for the rest of the season.​

Skowronek had a good September as a quasi-fullback that took the league by surprise when the Rams were relevant. He had been held under 30 yards in each game since Week 6 outside of a 7/89 blowup against the Raiders in Baker Mayfield's first game. It's hard to believe the Rams wouldn't upgrade their depth chart enough to keep Skowronek fantasy-irrelevant if Matthew Stafford and Sean McVay are both back, but the stasis of the Rams is in enough question that we can't say anything for sure.
SOURCE: Jourdan Rodrigue on Twitter
Dec 20, 2022, 5:56 PM ET

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