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Ikem Ekwonu
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Ikem Ekwonu 2022 NFL Draft Profile

Ikem Ekwonu
Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

Ikem Ekwonu 2022 NFL Draft Profile

When you look at mocks, oftentimes you see two names at the top of the board. Those names are Evan Neal from Alabama and Aiden Hutchinson from Michigan. Neal is highly regarded as the best OT prospect in the draft, but I am here to disagree with that. I have been high on Ikem Ekwonu for months now, and I think he has the potential to be as good as Neal if not better. Here is my 2022 NFL Draft Profile on the NC State OT.

I see a lot of Kelechi Osemele and Greg Robinson in Ikem Ekwonu. Ekwonu is a guy with great length and has the versatility to play outside at Tackle and inside at Guard. His tape shows a violent man with his hands, especially in run blocking. His quickness off the snap translates well to the NFL, especially in an offense that uses screens often. His pass protection had its ups and downs over the past two years, but you can see that potential in him once he starts working with these NFL guys he is going to absorb knowledge like a sponge. Ekwnou can slide into any scheme and find immediate success.

He also tested out fairly well for a guy his size. Running a 4.93 40-yard dash and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.73. It also came off very clear in interviews that he will become a locker room leader and a man that his teammates can rely on. His off-the-field demeanor just screams I am going to succeed no matter what and I am going to take you with me. I mean, the name Ikem literally translates to “my effort will not be in vain”, how can you not love this guy?

While at NC State, he had 11 starts last season at Tackle and moved around from Guard to Tackle the year before. That versatility will be vital to success at the next level. Look at a guy like Rashawn Slater last year (who I also picked as OT1 last off-season) and the immediate success he found in Los Angeles with the Chargers.

He has some detractors, like pass protection as I mentioned before, and that as last season went on, he would open his hips a lot earlier than you would like, which left him susceptible to pass rushers. His timing on kick-out blocks needs some work as well as he would leave the inside wide open at times.

Overall, not only do I think that Ikem Ekwonu has a case to be the #1 overall pick in the draft as I see him as OT1 on my board. That honor will likely go to Evan Neal from Alabama, but whatever team pulls the trigger on Ekwonu will have a day one starter and someone who will anchor their locker room and their offensive line for the next decade-plus.

Best Fit: New York Giants, Carolina Panthers, New York Jets

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