A deeper dive into NY Giants first round draft target Ikem Ekwonu
As the NY Giants limp to the finish of another disappointing season, help could be on the way with the possibility of two top-10 picks in next spring’s 2022 NFL Draft
The NY Giants currently own the 5th and 6th picks in the 2022 NFL Draft, with the 5th pick being their own, and the 8th pick coming from the Chicago bears, if the NFL regular season ended today.
With the current NY Giants roster having tons of holes, this is a great opportunity for them to plug these holes by drafting some star players.
One of the players the Giants should target with one of their top picks in the draft is Ikem Ekwonu out of North Carolina State.
Ikem Ekwonu is a 6-foot-4 and 320 pound beast of an offensive tackle out of NC State who quickly climbed up the draft boards during this season. If Ekwonu is available when the NY Giants make their selections, they should highly consider drafting him.
Let’s take a deeper dive into NY Giants draft target Ikem Ekwonu:
Ikem Ekwonu has quickly risen up the draft chart this season, becoming a likely top 10 pick that any team would be excited to have. Ekwonu is a tremendous dual-threat offensive tackle, gaining grades of 93.8 in run blocking snaps, and 78.3 in pass blocking snaps per, PFF.
Using his immense power and fantastic technique, Ekwonu dominates opposing defenders easily off the line. Ekwonu possesses deadly power in his hands, tossing defenders around in the run game.
A tremendous example of this is in this play here:
Ekwonu (#79) rises up to the second level and places his hands perfectly on the opposing linebacker, he then combines this hand placement, and his immense strength, to just simply throw his opponent to the ground.
Another example of this is on this play here:
Ekwonu pulls out to the left, locates his target, and places his hands perfectly on his defender, using this combination of strength and hand technique to turn his defender around and toss him to the ground.
Watching the NY Giants struggle so mightily in the run game, it only makes sense to draft a player like Ekwonu who is a tremendous run blocker.
Before diving into the rest of Ikem Ekwonu’s strengths, let’s take a look into what is probably Ekwonu’s biggest weakness.
Ikem Ekwonu often struggles facing inside pass-rushing moves from opposing defenders. While Ekwonu possesses solid lateral mobility, it becomes less than solid when it comes to his ability to turn to the inside while pass blocking, his great hand technique can sometimes make up for this, however, it is still a problem.
While this is something that can be fixed at the next level, it is something that could hinder his ability to properly pass block in the NFL. This is one of the reasons why some NFL scouts believe Ekwonu’s ideal position is at guard.
Even with these struggles in the pass blocking game, Ekwonu has put up some pretty solid stats, only allowing 3 sacks, 0 QB hurries, and 10 QB hurries in 12 games.
Another thing to like about Ekwonu is his balance use of length in run-blocking snaps. In my previous deep dive on Evan Neal, I mentioned he has the tendency to over-extend his arms and fall over, this is not the case for Ekwonu.
Ikem Ekwonu has tremendous balance in the run game, getting off the line and into the 2nd level to dominate opposing defenders.
Ekwonu’s hand technique and power are without a doubt my favorite aspects of his game, it is uncommon to see a tackle with such immense power have great technique, Ikem Ekwonu possesses both.
Ikem Ekwonu has all the tools and potential to be an instant star in the NFL, it is just a matter of if it will translate to the NFL, which I think it will. It is not every day in which you see an offensive tackle who is dominant in both runs and pass block opportunities. If Ekwonu is still available when the NY Giants make their selections they should highly consider drafting him, whether they keep Ekwonu at tackle or move him to guard, he will provide a much-needed upgrade to a struggling NY Giants run game.