4 first-round mistakes that continue to haunt Carolina Panthers

Mistakes were made...

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
1 of 4

Which first-round draft picks continue to haunt the Carolina Panthers after some woeful management under previous regimes?

Unless the Carolina Panthers start drafting more effectively, the complications will continue. One only has to look at how many recently chosen by those in power are no longer around to see how poor evaluations were under previous regimes. Something that has to change for the organization to stand any chance of rising from the NFL's abyss.

Dan Morgan was complicit in Carolina's failings over the last three years. This is the primary reason why there was so much skepticism surrounding his promotion. Many thought a fresh injection of ideas was desirable. Team owner David Tepper decided against that, enhancing the responsibilities of someone well-liked within the franchise once again.

Morgan will have to do this without the No. 1 overall selection in this year's draft, which they've given up to the Chicago Bears. It's too soon to bear judgment on Bryce Young considering the mitigating circumstances attached to his indifferent production last season. However, some high-end issues have stronger conclusions attached.

With this in mind, here are four first-round draft mistakes that continue to haunt the Panthers.

Carolina Panthers chose Ikem Ekwonu over Charles Cross

Ikem Ekwonu's second season as starting left tackle didn't go according to plan. The former No. 6 overall selection looked technically flawed and unsuited to blindside responsibilities. This was an unmitigated disaster and left many wondering what his long-term future might hold.

Switching Ekwonu onto the interior seems to have been shot down by the player. Charles Cross also went through some difficulties in 2023. That said, he's a far better pass protector than the North Carolina State product and looks better suited to the zone-blocking concepts expected to be deployed by new head coach Dave Canales.

There is a chance for Ekwonu to bounce back. If his struggles continue, then concerns about this lofty draft selection will only grow. The player's third campaign will make or break his Carolina Panthers outlook.