3 best partnerships on the Carolina Panthers in 2023

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Ikem Ekwonu and Taylor Moton - Carolina Panthers OTs

It's been years since the Carolina Panthers had a prolific bookend tackle tandem. There have been very few pairings that warrant this distinction throughout franchise history, but Ikem Ekwonu and Taylor Moton represent hope for a prosperous future.

Moton has been a model of consistency since entering the league as a second-round selection in 2017. He stays healthy, rarely gets flustered under extreme pressure, and is assuming leadership responsibilities within the locker room to further enhance his increasing influence.

The former Western Michigan star's production was not matched by the revolving door on the blindside in recent years. That all changed when the Panthers selected Ekwonu at No. 6 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft - who was the best player on their board.

Ekwonu was baptized by Myles Garrett in Week 1 and struggled against the New York Giants during his second professional contest. However, the North Carolina State product was exceptional after some early jitters and is only going to get better with this experience under his belt.

Having a stable edge to protect rookie quarterback Bryce Young is going to be crucial for his transition. Much has been made about the signal-caller's durability concerns, but the Heisman Trophy winner can relax safe in the knowledge he'll get the time needed in the pocket to make things happen.