Ikem Ekwonu – Carolina Panthers OT
After the Carolina Panthers spent time bolstering their offensive line interior and with no quarterback worth taking in the first round, a stroke of good luck during the 2022 NFL Draft saw those in power get the pick of the top-three left tackles after every team in the top-five went with defensive prospects.
This was an opportunity the Panthers could not turn down. And certainly not when the top player on their draft board was there for the taking.
Ikem Ekwonu has all the makings of a superstar at the next level. He is a ruthless force against the run, has enough athleticism to develop into a supreme pass protector, and deeply cares about the organization after growing up watching from the stands at Bank of America Stadium.
Ekwonu is the tone-setter Carolina has been looking for since Jordan Gross hung up his cleats. His fun-loving demeanor off the field is matched by eye-catching violence between the white lines – which should make a smooth transition to the pro ranks.
Although some are speculating where Ekwonu’s best position might be, this is a franchise left tackle and the Panthers should treat him as such. Especially considering what fans have been forced to witness over the last few years.
This is a slam dunk. One that could completely change the team’s fortunes for whoever is under center next season and into the future.