5 Panthers players that can make a huge statement in Week 3 vs. Saints

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /

Ikem Ekwonu – Carolina Panthers OT

Nobody was expecting Ikem Ekwonu to be Trent Williams right out of the gate. But there is slight concern among some regarding how the No. 6 overall selection is currently adjusting to life with the Carolina Panthers.

It’s been a baptism of fire for Ekwonu against Myles Garrett and Leonard Williams. A steep learning curve for the North Carolina State product, who performed much better at the New York Giants before giving up a crucial sack late on.

Things won’t get much easier for Ekwonu this weekend against the New Orleans Saints. The left tackle is likely to see plenty of perennial Pro Bowler Cameron Jordan, who has failed to register a sack this season and will see this as the perfect opportunity to get his campaign going.

Dennis Allen is a supreme defensive mind that should target Ekwonu early and often. How the rookie edge protector holds up will go a long way to determining the overall outcome.

The Panthers have to assist Ekwonu in whatever way they can. More tight end help from a blocking standpoint would be welcome, but Ben McAdoo must also scheme things in a way that plays to the first-round pick’s strengths.

It’ll be another solid measuring stick for Ekwonu in Week 3. And a good performance from the player is needed in no uncertain terms.