Ikem Ekwonu 2022 NFL Draft Profile: Everything you need to know about Giants potential target

·2 min read
Ikem Ekwonu Treated Image
Ikem Ekwonu Treated Image

As things stand right now, the Giants have two picks in the Top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft, making them extremely important for the team's current rebuild. With New York expected to have a new GM in the front office, his or her job will be to make sure these two picks are the right ones.

With that in mind, we’re taking an in-depth look at some potential options for Big Blue, this time with NC State OL Ikem Ekwonu.

By the Numbers

- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 320 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.92 seconds
- Vertical jump: 30 inches
- Accolades & Awards: 2021 First Team All-ACC, 2020 Second Team All-ACC at guard and tackle.

Prospect Overview

The Draft Network: Ikem Ekwonu earned the opportunity to start at left tackle for North Carolina State as a true freshman in 2019 and he quickly developed into one of the most dynamic blockers in the country. His tenacity, size, devastating power at the point of attack, and football intelligence position him well to become an entrenched starter in the NFL. The toughness and physicality of his NFL team will immediately be improved with his addition. Ekwonu took a notable step forward in 2021 but he does have room to grow when it comes to weight distribution, taking away inside pass rush moves, and occasionally being too aggressive, which leads to blocks not being sustained long enough. Ekwonu hails from a family of athletes. His twin brother plays linebacker at Notre Dame, his father played college basketball in Nigeria, and his mother was a track star in high school. Ekwonu wrestled in high school in addition to his time on the gridiron. Ekwonu has the makings of a year-one impact starter with Pro Bowl potential by year three.

Pro Football Network: There is a reason why he’s been labeled “the most feared lineman in the ACC.” One of the critical components of player evaluation is ascertaining competitive toughness, and Ekwonu has enough to fuel three players. He looks to finish every play devastatingly, and more often than not, he is successful with dramatic consequences. There were multiple examples in the games studied — North Carolina, Miami, Wake Forest, and Duke — but one play where he shows blatant disregard for Hurricanes safety Bubba Bolden sticks in mind the most. Ekwonu is a good old-fashioned mauler who does his best work in the phone booth that is the interior offensive line. His high school wrestling experience is apparent in how he goes into combat as a run blocker. Furthermore, run blocking allows him to demonstrate impressive athletic tendencies. He can get out to the second level and routinely forces the issue downfield, as Bolden will attest.

North Carolina State Wolfpack tackle Ikem Ekwonu (79) blocks during the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at Carter-Finley Stadium
North Carolina State Wolfpack tackle Ikem Ekwonu (79) blocks during the first half against the Louisville Cardinals at Carter-Finley Stadium

Why Ekwonu makes sense for the Giants

Versatility for a lineman is always good to have when entering the NFL Draft. Ekwonu might be the epitome of that.

Long arms. Brute strength. Dexterity and nimble feet. He has it all to play anywhere on the line, and the Giants sure could use that type of player.

What I picture immediately when viewing Ekwonu in blue and white is a left guard who is stationed right beside Andrew Thomas and holds down that side of the line for years to come. Yes, there’s a chance he could play right tackle, but there’s also a high chance the Giants go with two offensive linemen with both first-round selections. A tackle could be taken before Ekwonu is grabbed off the big board.

He’s a proven commodity, being the “most feared lineman in the ACC,” but scouts have also pointed out room for growth, which isn’t a bad thing in the slightest. Ekwonu’s athleticism is on full display each snap and he has drive to get his blocking assignment to the ground, let alone sealed away from the football.

The Giants will be doing due diligence on every lineman in this draft, but Ekwonu should be toward the top of the list because of the natural physical gifts he possesses that go along with his propensity to learn how he can get better each year. It doesn’t get any better than that.

NFL Comparison

The Draft Network: Former guard Kelechi Osemele