5 winners and losers from the Carolina Panthers preseason loss vs. NY Jets

Who saw their stock rise or fall during the game?
Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Loser No. 1

Ikem Ekwonu - Carolina Panthers OT

Ikem Ekwonu is going to be held to higher standards moving forward. He's the franchise left tackle - the man responsible for protecting quarterback Bryce Young's blindside - so it's absolutely essential the former first-round pick builds on a positive rookie campaign.

Ekwonu - much like many others on the offensive line - didn't cover himself in glory during the Carolina Panthers' loss against the New York Jets. The one-time North Carolina State product looked hesitant in pass protection, allowing Young to get hit, and never looked truly comfortable before the starting unit came out.

This is probably a blip rather than anything too much to worry about. Ekwonu started slowly last season going up against All-Pro edge rusher Myles Garrett before putting together an outstanding campaign, so expect the production to increase once things get more serious.

Still, this sort of performance was unacceptable. Young took his hits like a man and bounced right back up, but the Panthers cannot afford their new prized possession getting constantly blown up when one considers the durability concerns and slender frame.

Nobody will need to tell Ekwonu that he needs to be better. If anything, this should make the edge presence more focused on taking another leap forward heading into Year 2 of his professional career.