(CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) — Carolina Panthers sixth overall pick in the first round, Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu, joins Will Kunkel and Carla Gebhart one day after being drafted by his hometown team.
The 6-foot-4, 310-pound N.C. State product withholds an extraordinary combination of size, agility, and a sturdy frame that could allow for an elongated career.
“I’m just gonna do everything I can to be the best player — the best person I can be,” said Ekwonu. “I’m from the area, I love Charlotte so much.”
The first-team All-ACC lineman recorded an incredible junior year, lifting the Wolfpack to a 9-3 season, landing atop a loaded ACC Atlantic conference.
“There’s no doubt that he can pass set — that he can run block,” said head coach Matt Rhule. “He’s got all those tools.”
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Carolina had its choice of the top three quarterbacks in the draft at No. 6 — Liberty’s Malik Willis, Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett, and Mississippi’s Matt Corral.
However, they decided to go with Ekwonu, as the team needed security for their quarterback most of all.
Since the Panthers lost Jordan Gross in 2013, they have had 16 players start at left tackle.