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 /
2 of 3
Ikem Ekwonu
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ikem Ekwonu /

Ikem Ekwonu must improve discipline

Playing left tackle is difficult for even the most experienced veteran. It’s the most important position on any offensive line and one that the quarterback must trust at all times in pursuit of success.

Ikem Ekwonu is a problem-solver that has all the athletic attributes needed to become a significant force in the coming years. There were times as a rookie when he completely overawed any ongoing pass-rusher, with his dominance in the run game also catching the eye over the second half of 2022 when the Carolina Panthers went to their power scheme under Steve Wilks.

If there was an ongoing flaw in Ekwonu’s influence, it centered around discipline. The rookie blindside presence conceded no fewer than 13 penalties throughout the campaign – many of which came on key downs that hindered Carolina’s ability to move the chains.

Again, this is something that should improve with experience. Ekwonu was a little eager to get to the point of attack on occasion, which caused multiple infringements that could have been prevented with a little extra composure.

Ekwonu played every snap on offense as a rookie, which will do his long-term aspirations an endless amount of good. If he could perhaps half this penalty total during his sophomore campaign, it’s much more respectable looking at other elite left tackles around the NFL.