Panthers 2022 rookie class graded 26th in NFL
The Carolina Panthers picked and plucked their 2022 draft class with some tempered expectations. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they didn’t exactly stack up with many of the league’s other groups.
On Thursday, NFL.com’s Nick Shook and Eric Edholm pieced together their grades for each team’s 2022 rookie classes. And coming in all the way down at No. 26 is the Panthers, who are led by a youngster who played in all of the games and one who played in none of them.
“Ikem Ekwonu had good and bad moments — typical of any rookie left tackle — but posted a decent PFF grade and didn’t miss a game,” writes Shook, who gave them an overall ‘C-‘ grade. “With a step forward in Year 2, he can become a reliable blind-side blocker for the team to build around. Matt Corral’s rookie season ended before it began due to a Lisfranc injury that landed him on injured reserve in August. Quite unfortunate, because he almost certainly would’ve had the chance to see the field, given Carolina’s QB struggles.”
Ekwonu, this past season’s sixth overall pick, was everything Carolina could’ve asked for out of a rookie left tackle. That decent Pro Football Focus grade put the North Carolina State product at a 65.3, as he allowed six sacks and 27 pressures over every snap of all 17 outings.
As for Corral, who sustained that Lisfranc injury in a preseason tilt against the New England Patriots, his future is a bit murkier. With an entirely new coaching staff at the helm, the third-rounder—whose selection was heavily influenced by former offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo—may get lost in the shuffle.
And it’s likely, with the ninth overall pick in hand, that Frank Reich’s Panthers find a different option under center in their 2023 rookie class.
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