Grading every pick from an impressive Panthers 2022 NFL Draft class

(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /
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Carolina Panthers
(Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /

Ikem Ekwonu – Carolina Panthers OT

In the gambling capital of the world, the Carolina Panthers got extremely lucky when Ikem Ekwonu fell out of their top five and into their laps. There were plenty of analysts and teams that expected the North Carolina State product to be taken before No. 6 overall and those in power did not waste a huge opportunity to fill a key position of need.

Ekwonu grew up a Panthers supporter and has already won the hearts of fans. Something that will only grow once he finally gets onto an NFL field.

It’s hard to put into words just how dominant Ekwonu was at the college level. His ferocity in the run game was borderline legendary and this is matched by heavy hands and exceptional length that make him a force to be reckoned with in pass protection.

There are some things Ekwonu needs to work on to truly fulfill his potential on the blindside. But this was a home run hit by the Panthers and one that could finally fill the void left by Jordan Gross.

Draft Grade: A+

There is a slight chance this doesn’t work out. However, if Ekwonu can reach expectations then this is a prospect with Pro Bowl or better potential in Carolina.