With the sixth pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers selected offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu. This was the first offensive linemen drafted off the board. This was a bit of a surprise as the Panthers still could be looking for a quarterback.
Ekwonu was a unanimous All-American selection in his final college football season in 2021 and played both the tackle and guard positions at NC State.
OT Ikem Ekwonu: Scouting Report
Ekwonu plays with a ton of aggression and plays with a level of intensity NFL teams will love. He is at his best as a run blocker but has the tools to develop in pass protection, which is what teams will want him for if they believe he is the guy best suited to protect their quarterback’s blindside. Regardless, he has the talent to be one of the first few names off the board on draft night and should be ready to start in Year 1 as a pro.
Mock Draft landing spots
“Andrew Thomas looked better in 2021, but the Giants still need a tackle opposite him — and the best one in the class is still here at No. 5. New GM Joe Schoen would be sprinting to turn in the pick card if the board fell this way.” -McShay
Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): No. 5, New York Giants
“They need to improve their line, and Ekwonu would pair with Andrew Thomas to give them a nice duo of young tackles. He could also play guard, with some scouts thinking he’s better off inside.”
Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): No. 5, New York Giants
“The Giants, as expected, removed the hefty contract of right tackle Nate Solder from the books and here’s their direct replacement for him opposite Andrew Thomas New GM Joe Schoen needs to upgrade the offensive line well for new coach Brian Daboll and started with adding center Jon Feliciano and right guard Matt Glowinski in free agency. Ekwonu can easily start over fellow newcomer Matt Gono, who makes sense as a strong swing backup.”
“Hello, exquisite fit. Ekwonu’s run-blocking prowess will be a welcomed addition in Baltimore.”