3 Carolina Panthers players who should be benched for 2023 season finale

It's time to take these players out of the firing line.

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Ikem Ekwonu - Carolina Panthers OT

Ikem Ekwonu's regression this season is arguably the biggest concern of all. The offensive tackle has taken a significant step backward during his sophomore campaign. Sunday's latest inept showing at the Jacksonville Jaguars was the latest in a long line of underwhelming performances from the former first-round selection.

It looked for much of Ekwonu's rookie year that he could finally provide some stability to the left tackle position. A franchise presence capable of manning the blindside for a decade or more depending on the player's health.

Now, the jury is well and truly out.

Ekwonu is going through some issues, that much is clear. Opposing teams are identifying him as a player of weakness, constantly attacking him and blowing past with minimal fuss. Not exactly the franchise-caliber credentials the Carolina Panthers were hoping for after passing on Charles Cross in favor of the North Carolina State bruiser at No. 6 overall.

Where Ekwonu is best suited moving forward is a hot topic of discussion. Many expect the player to improve on the edge. Others want him switched to the interior, which could benefit his physical attributes.

Regardless of what the new coaching staff decides, taking Ekwonu out of the lineup in Week 18 would avoid his confidence being dented further. He's a liability and Bryce Young is suffering as a result. That's the long and short of it.