Ikem Ekwonu was the best player available
The Carolina Panthers came into the draft having contemplated many outcomes in the top five picks above them. There was a potential for all three top tackles to get selected before they got on the clock, which would have been a blow given their need to find a stable solution long-term.
Not one, not two, but all three tackles were available for Carolina to choose from.
An unbelievable turn of events.
Carolina’s big board reportedly had Ekwonu at the top of it, and many other NFL teams likely had him near or at the top of theirs as well. This year’s draft did not have a consensus No. 1 player, but the fearsome offensive tackle was the one player consistently in the conversation of being that top prospect.
The Panthers were lucky Ekwonu fell into their laps. And they were right not to pass up such an opportunity.
Even though Charles Cross looks like the best pass protector out of the offensive linemen this year and Neal looks like the most polished, Ekwonu not only has the most athletic talent out of the three, but that athletic ability lends him to having arguably the highest ceiling out of all the top prospects in the draft.
Ekwonu’s physical make-up lets him play not only tackle but also guard. This versatility is something that adds even more value to the Panthers.