NFL Hot Press: Teams See Ekwonu Mid-First Round

Teams See Ekwonu Mid-First Round

Updated Dec. 3, 2021
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.

NFL teams are always seeking pass rushers and edge protectors, so it can be easy for offensive tackles to rise quickly with pro teams. In ’12-’13, Auburn left tackle Greg Robinson was not on the radar of teams in the preseason, but he had a big year to turn into the No.2-overall pick in the draft before becoming a bust for the Los Angeles Rams. This year, one of the fastest rising tackle prospects is N.C. State’s Ikem Ekonwu, and multiple team sources say they see him as a mid-first-round pick.

The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Ekwonu has excellent size as well as serious strength on the edge. In speaking to one director of player personnel, they said their team had Ekwonu as a mid- to late first-round pick. Ekonwu has experience at both guard and tackle with the Wolfpack, but he projects as being able to play left tackle in the NFL. He is a fierce and physical run blocker. While he has some things to work on as a pass blocker, the potential is there for him to stay on the edge.

“I grade him as a mid-first,” said an AFC director of college scouting. “But I think he could end up going top 15.”

Ekonwu could be a star at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. and left tackles with good skill sets are always in demand. After his strong 2021 season, Ekonwu looks destined to be selected in the early going of the opening night of the 2022 NFL Draft.