Panthers news: Dan Morgan, Jim Harbaugh, David Tepper and Ikem Ekwonu

Delving deeper into the latest Carolina Panthers news and rumors from around the media.

Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers OT Ikem Ekwonu's desire

It was a sophomore campaign to forget for offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu. The former first-round pick regressed considerably after a promising rookie year, giving up countless pressures and casting doubt on his chances of becoming the franchise left tackle many envisaged after he was taken No. 6 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.

There are growing calls for the Carolina Panthers to move Ekwonu onto the interior. Although this might be a viable option depending on how the new coaching staff perceives his talent, the former North Carolina State standout wasn't interested in the possibility based on comments via David Newton of ESPN.

"I know I can play left tackle at an elite level in this league, and I'm gonna go into the offseason making sure I'm the best left tackle I can be."

Ikem Ekwonu via ESPN

Those protecting the blindside effectively make much more money than anybody on the interior offensive line, so it's no wonder Ekwonu wants to stay on the edge. However, there is a lot of hard work ahead heading into a critical Year 3 for the player.

After conceding 11 sacks and a whopping 12 penalties from 1,148 snaps, the jury is still out on Ekwonu. And make no mistake, extra competition is coming to the offensive line this offseason to further raise the stakes.