LAS VEGAS (WNCN) – Former North Carolina State University left tackle Ikem Ekwonu was drafted No. 6 overall to the Carolina Panthers Thursday night in Las Vegas during the first round of the NFL Draft.

Ekwonu joins a Panthers team who has struggled on the offensive line for many seasons and now gets a chance to be an anchor up front to help protect quarterback Sam Darnold.

Ekwonu was touted all offseason to be the first tackle off the board, and he was.

Still, the 6-foot-4, 310-pound tackle will bring his run blocking ability against defenders and hand power to create lanes for running backs to a team name that needs it. He’ll also succeed in providing an explosive punch against defenders that mascot linemen have lacked providing in recent seasons. 

Additionally, his slide quickness and range in pass protection helped set him apart in this year’s draft class, massively helping his climb into the first round, and one of the top overall picks.

The Panthers’ next pick isn’t until Round 4 at No. 137.