OT Ikem Ekwonu, North Carolina St.*

6’4” – 320 lbs.

Background:

Started the final seven games at left tackle in his true freshman season, then began the following year as the team’s starting left guard before sliding back out to left tackle. Reprised his role at left tackle this past year before declaring for the draft.

Positives:

Three year starter who has played both outside and inside. Has excellent bulk and thickness throughout his frame, with very impressive power commensurate with his size. Outstanding at the point of attack. Dominant inline blocker who can clear a path in a phone booth, with good leg drive and the ability to put defenders on skates. Played in an offense which had him on the move fairly often and does a nice job of actively seeking out opponents to engage. Has a ton of power in his hands to jolt opponents on contact. Can generate torque with his upper body to sling opponents to the ground. Plays with nastiness and finishes blocks well. Looks consistent with the footwork in his kickslide. A little bit lighter on his feet in a short area than he appears. Gets his knees bent, generally plays with an appropriate base, and absorbs power easily. Actively shoots out his hands to deliver punches. Active and accurate with his hands. Clobbers opposing rushers as a help blocker when no one lines up opposite him. Doesn’t need everything to go right to win a snap.

Negatives:

Height is on the low side of what teams look for in an offensive tackle; some teams may consider converting him back to guard. More of a powerful shover; would like to see him use his grip more consistently. Could keep his back straight more consistently; will play a little bit outside of his frame and can sometimes be a leaner against inside moves. Base can get a little bit narrow at times. Doesn’t have ideal recovery speed to get back in position when he sets up too far inside/outside, forcing him to abandon his technique and try and win dirty. Has adequate short-area quickness and a good motor, but might not really be an ideal fit for some zone-blocking schemes, as his overall range is somewhat limited.

Summary:

One of the most powerful offensive tackle prospects in recent memory, he can overwhelm defenders on contact in the run game or set up in pass protection and stonewall opposing bull-rushers. Fundamentals in his pass sets/footwork look good, so it’s possible he will stick outside at tackle in the pros, likely for a team with an inline/power scheme, although some teams may eye moving him back to guard. Either way, is about as close to a first-round lock as a prospect can be.

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