3 Carolina Panthers with the quickest routes back to prosperity in 2024

These Carolina Panthers players can fast-track themselves back to prosperity.
Austin Corbett
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Ikem Ekwonu - Carolina Panthers OT

Ikem Ekwonu has a huge point to prove next season. The Carolina Panthers are giving him another opportunity to become the franchise-caliber left tackle they envisaged after taking him No. 6 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. This looked like a sure thing following his promising rookie campaign. That's not the case anymore.

Ekwonu freely admitted to getting complacent and not putting in the necessary effort to improve. His performance levels dipped significantly as a result. This came with backlash from fans and questions about whether he'd be better suited to the interior moving forward.

The margin for error couldn't be slimmer for Ekwonu in 2024. He must return to his first-year form, improve some severe technical flaws, and be more responsive to coaching. That's a lot to ask, but these complications are mostly his doing despite the lack of quality alongside him on the protection last time around.

Carolina acquired two prolific offensive guards by spending big sums to land Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis. Austin Corbett's presence at the center position could help. Nobody doubts Taylor Moton's efficiency at right tackle after putting together several consistent years since joining the Panthers as a second-round pick.

The former North Carolina State mauler is the big question mark. Ekwonu must capitalize on an improved supporting cast and thrive within blocking concepts more in keeping with his athletic attributes. He turned the page quickly on last season. What comes next is integral to his hopes of becoming a potential franchise cornerstone.

Ekwonu faces a big challenge, especially considering his fifth-year option decision is due at season's end. However, there is a quick route back to prosperity for the lineman.

If the player improves his focus, prepares the right way, and puts his physical skill set to better use, it's hard to envisage a scenario where he falls flat on his face. Ekwonu is highly motivated to silence some increasing doubters. Anything less comes with massive ramifications attached.