5 winners and losers from Carolina Panthers 2023 training camp Week 1

There's been a lot to unpack throughout the first week of Carolina Panthers training camp.

Adam Thielen
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Winner No. 3

Ikem Ekwonu - Carolina Panthers OT

When one examines the franchise cornerstones integral to the Carolina Panthers under Frank Reich's new regime, Ikem Ekwonu is among the most important. The left tackle is looking to build on a promising first campaign in the pros this time around, which is reflected in a dominant start to training camp so far.

Ekwonu has an added level of assurance this summer. The former first-round pick knows that he belongs at the top tier and going up against Brian Burns - one of the league's most explosive pass-rushers - on almost every down is doing wonders for his overall development.

The Panthers have a superstar on their hands where Ekwonu is concerned. He is a complete mauler in the run game and came on from a pass-protection standpoint significantly under the expert tutelage of James Campen - showing all the traits morally associated with the complete package at offensive tackle.

This cannot mean anything but positive news for Ekwonu and the Panthers moving forward. The North Carolina State product has the added task of protecting the new face of the franchise's blindside, which should bring additional focus with such a huge responsibility on his shoulders.

Carolina struck gold when Ekwonu fell out of the top five and in their laps during the 2022 NFL Draft. If he keeps up his high level of performance throughout camp, the sky's the limit next season.