3 key areas Ikem Ekwonu must improve after standout rookie season

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /
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What areas must Ikem Ekwonu improve upon after a standout rookie season with the Carolina Panthers in 2022?

When the Carolina Panthers received a gift from the football gods during the 2022 NFL Draft, they were wise not to pass it up. Ikem Ekwonu’s dream of playing for the organization he followed as a kid came true as the No. 6 overall selection, which finally gave the team their first franchise left tackle since the days of Jordan Gross.

Ekwonu was mismanaged in training camp as he split blindside reps with Brady Christensen before the coaching staff eventually saw sense. After a rough baptism against Myles Garrett in Week 1, the former North Carolina State standout rose to the occasion en route to a fantastic first season as an NFL player.

This was beyond encouraging and played a significant role in Carolina’s vast improvements across the offensive line. However, there is a lot of hard work ahead for Ekwonu as he looks to build on such a promising campaign.

With this in mind, here are three areas Ekwonu must improve in pursuit of progressing his outstanding skill set further in 2023.

Area to Improve No. 1

Ikem Ekwonu
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /

Ikem Ekwonu must improve his concentration

It’s more a case of fine-tuning rather than any major concerns regarding Ikem Ekwonu’s production. Considering how first-year tackles normally fare, his overall contribution was much better than many envisaged despite the odd blip or two along the way.

Upon examining Ekwonu’s performances, there were times when concentration became an issue. Whether that was with infringements or getting beaten on crucial downs, it’s a definite area to iron out before competitive action begins for the Carolina Panthers later this year.