Ikem Ekwonu Scouting Report: 2022 NFL Draft Prospect Report



Offensive Lineman, NC State Wolfpack #79



6’ 4” /320 lbs

40 Time:  Rumored he should run in 4.9-4.94 range



Ikem Ekwonu NFL Draft Profile

Ikem Ekwonu’s family is built to compete at a high level. Both his Mother and Father are pure athletes. His Father even played college basketball star prior to coming to America. He also has a brother, Osita Ekwonu, who plays linebacker for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.



High School

Ikem Ekwonu didn’t exactly go unnoticed in high school, but he wasn’t making national headlines either. At Providence Day High School in Charlotte he was a multi-sport star. He ran anchor on his high school relay team, was an All-State wrestler, as well as a standout on the football field. As a junior he was a game changer on both the offensive and defensive lines, but it was his senior season that he established himself as a problem for opposing defenders. That season he would record 28 knockdown blocks and earn first team All-State honors.



Ekwonu garnered just a three star rating according to 247Sports, but still earned double digit offers. Two schools that caught my attention were Yale and Harvard, meaning Ikem must be a stellar student and a brilliant mind not just a big body. At NC State he quickly acclimated to the NCAA level and even became the first freshman to start at left tackle for the university since 2010. Fast forward to the 2021 season and he has secured his place at the top of the draft board. He finished the season as a unanimous All-American selection and first team All-ACC. Lets see what sets him apart next.


Ikem Ekwonu Strengths




His reputation as the “Most feared lineman in the ACC,” by the Athletic may be an understatement. Ikem Ekwonu may be “The most feared lineman in the NCAA.” He plays with the mean streak that I look for in lineman and want to see in my players. When watching him, it quickly becomes evident that he wants to hit defenders and remind them who they are playing.  Last year I was a big supporter of Kendrick Green, now of the Steelers, for that same reason.



When watching film on the 2022 Draft Class, Ekwonu sets himself apart from the rest of the NFL hopefuls with his elite power and burst. His hands are explosive and routinely knock defenders off course or even out of their socks. Once we his engaged, it is pretty much a given that his player will remain engaged or, even better, on their back.

Seriously if you want to watch film on a lineman and be impressed go check out his tape. If I were an opposing defensive end I’d be begging to rush the right side and avoid him all game.



This term gets thrown around a lot these days. Let’s be real though, every player that plays in the NFL is an athlete. For Ikem, it is his blend of size and power along with his athleticism that stands out. He is every bit of 320 pounds. The Draftnetwork reports that NC State strength coach Dan Burnette can hit speeds of 18 mph and should run the 40 as fast as ex Wolfpack Center Garrett Bradbury, who ran a 4.92.

That’s 4.92 seconds at 320 lbs. That’s basically the equivalent of being hit by a Mack truck, obvious hyperbole here. He has quick feet and is able to maintain his position in front of defenders. His strength allows him to overcome his flaws in his footwork as well. Time will tell if he can get away with that at the NFL level though.


Ikem Ekwonu Areas for Improvement



Pass Protection

NC State OL Ikem Ekwonu

NC State OL Ikem Ekwonu

Before you take me out and tar and feather me for this, let’s remember nit-picking is a scouts job. Ekwonu has improved in this regard over the years, but seemed to slightly regress down the stretch this season. He did still only allow 2 sacks in almost 900 snaps. He still needs to address his kick slide and work on it to improve to play tackle at the NFL level. Ikem also tends to shuffle his feet too much at times and it also allows defenders to cross him up and get inside leverage and penetration.

An NFL defensive end, especially one like TJ Watt, would eat him up at this point. He won’t be able to rely on his strength advantage to bail him out at the next level.

Hand Placement

Ikem Ekwonu can cause issues for himself sometimes. His need to destroy opposing defenders means he strikes with a ferocity unlike many others. This can lead to him over extending and missing his intended hand placement. After watching film from every one of his games, I see that he can get his hands way too wide at times. I saw too many plays where his initial contact is outside the opponents shoulder pads even.

He also needs to work on his timing when exploding into the defender. As I mentioned above, he can tend to over extend his arms before making contact. To be honest, that is a scary thought because that means he could actually be even more powerful.

Ikem Ekwonu Draft Stock

Prior to the season, only the smartest of scouts were mentioning him as a top tier lineman. Now, with the 2021 season in the rear-view mirror, every scout in the world has noticed him. Ekwonu should be a top pick in this April’s NFL Draft. Some have even mocked him at number one overall.


Final Thoughts on Ikem Ekwonu Scouting Report

I am a huge fan of Ikem Ekwonu and would love to have him on my team’s offensive line. I am one of those scouts who believes he should play guard in the NFL though. This means I don’t see him being the first player taken in the draft. I think he could be coached up and become an above average tackle in the NFL and even finish plays like San Francisco’s Trent Williams. I just don’t see him being as good as Williams overall.

However, if he plays guard in the NFL I believe he will be a perennial ALL-Pro like Quenton Nelson of the Colts. Every running back in the league would be celebrating on draft day if their team drafts him, and it wouldn’t be long until he is mentioned year in and year out as one of the top guards in the league. This is why you see him at the top of my guard rankings, but not my tackle rankings.

NFL Player Comparison

I want to compare him to Quenton Nelson, but when I watched him play I kept thinking Steve Hutchinson. Hutchinson is one of the best to ever play guard in the NFL and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.