Ikem Ekwonu places himself on the hot seat with damning revelation

The left tackle got a bit ahead of himself...
Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ikem Ekwonu's promising rookie campaign left many convinced that the Carolina Panthers had finally solved their complex riddle at the left tackle position. Big things were expected of the No. 6 overall selection in the 2022 NFL Draft and he duly delivered after a rocky start. Hopes were high that he could build on this newfound momentum during the previous campaign.

Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Ekwonu wasn't suited to the blocking concepts implemented by Frank Reich and Thomas Brown. His production was technically flawed and the former North Carolina State star became a constant weak link. Any optimism surrounding the blindside protector evaporated in the blink of an eye.

Now, the jury is out on Ekwonu.

He's getting another chance to return to the form of old under Dave Canales. But a recent revelation from Ekwonu piled on additional pressure to produce the goods next time around.

Carolina Panthers need a different mindset from Ikem Ekwonu

When speaking to the media, Ekwonu admitted to getting a bit carried away with his immediate success based on comments via the team's website. Now, he's firmly humbled and willing to ask for guidance in pursuit of brighter fortunes next season and hopefully, way into the future.

"I feel like I last year, I didn't take advantage of the resources that I had available to me. I feel like I kind of just, I guess riding the coattails of that rookie season a little bit. I (thought) I was at a place where I, I just wasn't. So, I wasn't afraid this year to reach out, ask for some help, go over with the guys. I don't want to speak on last year too much if I'm being honest, but obviously very humbling experience. When you're looking at the entire body of work that was last year, there was things that came up time and time again that I didn't fix as the season went on, so it's definitely a big priority for me."

Ikem Ekwonu via Panthers.com

Thinking you've made it after one season is not the way he should have approached matters. Complacency can be a player's worst enemy - especially with those still trying to make their way in the game. This mindset sets up the player to fail. And make no mistake, it cannot continue for much longer where Ekwonu is concerned.

Fans have taken note. Ekwonu's attitude was called into question on social media, but the renewed sense of focus is a positive he can take from a campaign best forgotten.

Canales and Dan Morgan remain confident in the player's abilities. The head coach also believes his run-first approach can help Ekwonu, who came into the league as a crushing force on running plays while needing some pass-protection refinement.

Getting back to basics will help, but it'll take much more.

Ekwonu needs to adopt the mentality that brought him to the dance. He was nowhere near the pinnacle despite what the player perceived. This statement only increases the microscope on his performance levels during the 2024 campaign.

Hopefully, this is nothing more than a harsh lesson learned from Ekwonu's perspective. And yet, it does nothing to diminish the notion that he's firmly on the hot seat entering Year 3 of his professional career.

In all honesty, Ekwonu has nobody to blame but himself. Putting this right at the earliest possible opportunity is critical.