Why is Ikem Ekwonu struggling?
Can you give me a legitimate reason why Ikem should not be moved inside and look for other options at tackle? The film speaks for itself at this point. I defended him from the start but the tape of him not being an NFL tackle is adding up. - @GingerThoughtzz
Patience and development is the reason why Ikem Ekwonu shouldn't be moved to left guard or why the Carolina Panthers shouldn't find another starting left tackle.
Sure, I had decently high expectations of a Year 2 jump from the former No. 6 overall pick. There was promise last season from a technical aspect of his game. Ekwonu showed he could be a great run-blocking tackle and still is, in my opinion. He was a raw, yet gifted offensive tackle who graded out as my No. 3 player at his position.
The concerns I had with Ekwonu coming out of North Carolina State are being put on full display nine weeks into his second year. These include the tendency to overextend - causing a loss of balance, inconsistent hand placement, and struggling to counter inside moves - Jonathan Greenard was torching him with those this past Sunday.
I'll maintain that these issues are correctable. Ekwonu shouldn't have to rely solely on his athleticism, power, and tenacity in pass protection.
Moving Ekwonu to left guard would not help solve or alleviate these concerns, especially at a point when Carolina has a stretch of games that seem winnable on paper. I don't think Ricky Lee is some sort of All-Pro tackle in waiting nor starting him would ease those blindside issues.
I've said this before and I'll say it again, Ekwonu's development path is eerily similar to Andrew Thomas' and it wouldn't surprise me if he showed vast improvement in the offseason.
If Ekwonu doesn't show growth through the midway point of 2024, give him a chance at restructuring his career at guard. Until then, I will preach patience.