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The Trench Warfare 2022 NFL Draft Film Room - Episode 1 featuring N.C. State LT Ikem Ekwonu

Photo via Tyler Wise

For the first episode of the 2022 NFL Draft film room, I am thrilled to have N.C. State LT Ikem “Ickey” Ekwonu joining me to break down a couple dozen plays from the Mississippi State and Clemson games during his 2021 season. I began studying Ekwonu’s film back in September, after the college season began, and put a high first-round grade on him when our first big board dropped in October.

In our latest post-Senior Bowl top 200 big board, Ekwonu maintained his status as my highest graded lineman in the draft. This is largely based on Ekwonu’s blend of special traits and unmatched ‘trump card’ as a run-blocker that translates to many of the NFL’s most successful offensive schemes.

Here is the ‘positives’ section from my Ekwonu scouting report that you will see littered throughout this film room:

During our 45+ minute film room session and conversation, we discussed a wide-range of topics. Some notable highlights are below:

  • Being a tone-setter on the field, what that looks like and where that ability comes from.

  • Breaking down aiming points, landmarks, and key factors in the wide/tight zone run scheme.

  • How Ekwonu’s track and wrestling background has helped him and translated to the field.

  • Highlighting several of Ekwonu’s favorite blocks of the season

  • Focusing on the main area of improvement in his game and ways to correct it.

  • An in-depth discussion about why finishing blocks is so important from an individual and team perspective.

  • The matchup versus Clemson and how after over 100 plays Ekwonu was still playing with the same energy & effort level as the first play of the game.

  • Ekwonu telling me how the coaching staff at N.C. State counted knockdown and pancake blocks, including how many he had in 2021.

  • The art of adjusting on the fly based on what the defense presents.

Stay tuned as I work to bring you many more of these leading up to the draft from some of the best and most underrated offensive linemen in the class.

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Trench Warfare
Trench Warfare
Brandon Thorn