5 winners and losers from the Carolina Panthers preseason loss at NY Giants

Who saw their stock rise or fall in Preseason Week 2?

D.J. Johnson
D.J. Johnson / John Jones-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser No. 2

Ikem Ekwonu - Carolina Panthers OT

This is the second time in as many weeks that offensive lineman Ikem Ekwonu has found himself on the wrong side of this particular list. But again, there's no reason to press the panic button just yet despite another disappointing performance from the former first-round selection.

Ekwonu was once again sluggish in pass protection and isn't quite there mentally right now. There's still time to clean things up before Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons arrives, but the North Carolina State product needs to buck up his ideas quickly looking at his body of work over the two warmup games so far.

Nobody is doubting Ekwonu's credentials. The left tackle proved as a rookie that he has what it takes to be the shutdown blindside protector the Carolina Panthers have craved since Jordan Gross, which is exactly why the edge presence is being held to a much higher standard than most.

The Panthers now have a franchise quarterback to protect, which makes Ekwonu's role all the more pivotal. His athletic traits are absolutely off the charts, so these two preseason games are more than likely a blip rather than something that could develop into a long-term complication.

Carolina's protection is taking some heat for their efforts throughout the preseason. And in terms of underperformers, Ekwonu is near the top.