First start in the NFL for Ickey Ekwonu will be against one of the best DE in the NFL

Ickey Ekwonu File
Ickey Ekwonu File(WBTV)
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 11:07 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Playing in his first NFL game as a starter for his home town team is a dream come true for Carolina Panthers rookie left tackle Ickey Ekwonu, but it won’t be an easy day at the office on Sunday when Cleveland comes to town.

The former Providence Day star will find himself lined up across from one of the best defensive ends in all the NFL in All-Pro Myles Garrett.

Welcome to the NFL rook!

“It’s the day I dreamed of,” said Ekwonu. “Going against the best of the best. It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around too often, but when it does you want to make the most of it.”

A key in the development of Ekwonu is the fact that he had to earn the starting position in training camp. He battled it out with Kyle Christensen for the starting role and eventually won that battle.

In the second preseason game versus New England, Ekwonu struggled in pass protection as he gave up a couple of sacks, but he showed flashes of what he could be in this league especially with run blocking. He knows he still has a long way to go and he doesn’t mind putting in the work especially getting ready for this daunting challenge in week 1 against Garrett.

“He’s really just an all around player,” said Ekwonu. “You have to prepare for everything that’s why I made sure that I sharpened every part of my game in training camp even that parts that I felt like were strengths of mine. It’s still something I have to sharpen up on.”

“Things are going to happen good-- things are going to happen that he has to learn from,” said coach Matt Rhule. “The key is for him to just keep getting better and better as the game goes on and certainly as the season goes on. But I got a lot of confidence in Ickey too. He’s here for a reason and he’s got to go play.”

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