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    NFL Draft Projections: Ikem Ekwonu’s landing spots include Texans, Panthers, and Giants

    What are Ikem Ekwonu's potential NFL landing spots as we look at current first-round 2022 NFL Draft projections?

    Ikem Ekwonu has been one of the fastest risers in the 2022 NFL Draft class, but where are his potential landing spots according to current projections? Could a potential lack of demand for offensive tackles at the top of the draft mean we see Ekwonu slide, or will the need at a premium position encourage teams to chase him as a top-five pick? Let’s look at the potential landing spots for Ekwonu in the 2022 NFL Draft.

    NFL Draft Projections: Ikem Ekwonu’s potential landing spots

    When you look at PFN’s Big Board, Ekwonu is one of two offensive tackle prospects inside the top five. His performance in 2021 saw him go from being considered anything between a mid-first-round selection and a Day 2 pick to a virtual consensus top-10 choice and a potential first overall pick. A big part of that has been his success transitioning to tackle. That change in role has increased his value heading into Round 1.

    The intriguing part with Ekwonu is not so much his scouting report, which is excellent, but how teams prioritize options in this draft. If the top of the draft is heavy on defensive players, we may not see an OT come off the board until the fifth pick. If that is the case, Ekwonu could slide back closer to the 10th selection or just outside the top 10. However, if a team in the top four prioritizes an OT, we could see Ekwonu as a top-five selection. Let’s examine the potential landing spots for Ekwonu.

    Jacksonville Jaguars

    The beauty of the Jaguars having the first pick is that they could fill virtually any area of need. They could take advantage of a robust pass-rush group and take whoever they have at the top of their board. Equally, they could place a value on the versatility offered by Kyle Hamilton.

    There has been a lot of discussion about the future of Cam Robinson at left tackle. However, that was silenced with a three-year contract extension that is worth more than $50 million. Therefore, with the left tackle position now solidified, it would be a shock if the Jaguars drafted a tackle first overall. There should be plenty of intriguing options that can compete with Walker Little at right tackle available later in the draft.

    Houston Texans

    The Texans have so many needs that it is tough to get a beat on which way they might go. Given that they have Laremy Tunsil at LT, the bigger needs are either on defense or WR. It would be somewhat surprising if the Texans went for Ekwonu or Evan Neal.

    The more likely outcome is that the Texans go for a defensive player with the third pick and look to address the offensive line later in the draft. If Ekwonu did manage to slip to the Texans’ second pick at 13, he could end up on their roster in 2022.

    New York Giants

    Both New York teams could consider Ekwonu, but the Giants have the bigger need at the position. The Giants are expected to address the OT position with either the fifth or seventh selection in the draft. If Neal is off the board before the Giants pick at No. 5, it would be a surprise if Ekwonu gets past both of their selections.

    Where things change is if Ekwonu and Neal are both still on the board when the Giants pick. If that is the case and the Giants go for Neal, we could see Ekwonu slip closer to the 10th selection this year.

    Carolina Panthers

    The Panthers have locked up Taylor Moton at right tackle, but the left tackle situation is not resolved. They drafted Brady Christensen last year, and while he could be the long-term option, he does not have the pedigree of Neal or Ekwonu. If Carolina does go for Ekwonu, he would have the chance to beat out Cameron Erving for the starting LT role in 2022.

    The most realistic reason the Panthers would go away from Ekwonu is to target a QB. After the sixth pick, Carolina does not select again until No. 137. Therefore, if there is a QB they have their eyes on, they have limited options. They could trade back if they don’t feel the value is right with the sixth pick. Additionally, they could go ahead and select the signal-caller they want. If they do not covet a QB, either Ekwonu or Neal make for realistic options with the sixth pick.

    Seattle Seahawks

    The Russell Wilson trade means the Seahawks will be in the top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft order. The situation for Seattle largely mirrors that of the Panthers. Their two biggest needs are a quarterback and an offensive tackle. Therefore, unless there is a QB they feel strongly about, getting a cornerstone piece on the left side of the offensive line is vital.

    With three OTs in the top 10 of PFN’s Consensus Big Board, the Seahawks could land one of the three at No. 9 overall. Of course, if they determine that their long-term replacement for Wilson is available, that will likely take priority.

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