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2022 Draft Day 1 transcripts

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T Ickey Ekwonu

RE: Ekwonu’s first response to being drafted to his hometown

I imply truthfully it’s simply loopy. , clearly, I’ve grown up in Charlotte enjoying soccer all through my years. Stayed house and went to NC State. So, I’ve been in North Carolina my entire life. That truth that each step of my soccer journey I’ve been in North Carolina I really feel like that claims one thing. I’m simply actually excited for this subsequent alternative.

RE: If he thought as he was going by the pre‐Draft course of that coming to the Carolina Panthers was potential

I imply, I am certain. I used to be sort of going into it like I actually felt like I used to be going to wind up at one of the best group I wanted to be. Wherever that wound up being, I really feel like no matter group wound up placing their religion in me and taking me for the precise causes and I used to be going to wind up within the spot for me. And I really feel like I did that with Carolina.

RE: What he plans to do to have a good time and what conversations he is had with the Panthers in regards to the place he’ll play

At the start, I’m going to go have a good time with my household. I’ve my aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, mother, dad, everybody right here celebrating me, and I really feel so blessed for that. I will have a good time with them. Actually benefit from the evening. After which we had a few conversations, (offensive line) coach (James) Campen and I and among the employees. Actually, I simply instructed them I really feel like I can play anyplace they want me to play. My versatility, such as you stated, is certainly one of my strongest factors so, I’m going to make use of that versatility in nonetheless they see match.

RE: How he describes himself as a participant and the swimsuit he’s sporting tonight

I really feel like violence, physicality, pressure. I really feel like these are among the key phrases and values to explain my sport personally.

RE: The that means of his swimsuit.

With the swimsuit, you understand I’ll begin with the chain. I even have a 704 proper right here on this chain. Inexperienced, white, inexperienced for my Nigerian roots. And I received “Ickey” on the chain as nicely. That is my nickname. I even have the Nigerian flag on the lapel as nicely, so you understand one other homage to my Nigerian tradition. And I even have purple bottoms on, Christian Louboutin, as a result of the splash of purple represents NC State, the Wolfpack. We simply sort of put this entire factor along with tales about my life.

RE: What’s means to be the primary offensive participant taken within the 2022 Draft

I really feel like it’s actually cool. Actually blessed. I assume I made historical past a way right now. I really feel prefer it’s truthfully such a blessing.

RE: Relationship with the Panthers rising up

I truly had a Thomas Davis jersey rising up. And I truly met Thomas Davis this morning as nicely. So, it is sort of loopy how issues line up. I had a Thomas Davis jersey rising up. I used to be on the NFC Championship sport after they beat the Cardinals. I used to be proper in the long run zone. I have been to a few video games. I have been capable of see the ups and downs of the group and simply lucky to have such an impression on the group’s legacy.

RE: Favourite locations to eat in Charlotte

So, I used to go this breakfast spot known as Le Peep so much. It’might be like fifteen minutes from my home. That was actually good. I used to go to this spot known as Improper Pig. I really feel like that was fairly good. I used to go to this spot known as Pizza Peel. We used to do O‐Line dinners after I went to Windfall Day, so we used to strive a bunch of various eating places. Pizza Peel is fairly good, however I really feel like that is somewhat little bit of a franchise round Charlotte. Not like a type of mother and pops. However yeah, I’ve been to a few eating places.

RE: What it’s prefer to be accustomed to the town of the group that drafted him

I imply truthfully, I really feel prefer it’s sort of good. Type of being already snug with the town and the atmosphere. That is only one much less factor I’ve to fret about. One much less factor I’ve received to concentrate on.

RE: Favourite reminiscence rising up in Charlotte

I’d most likely say proper round my home there may be this factor known as Matthews Alive. It is like the town of Matthews’ large pageant. I keep in mind the primary time as a child that was after I may match on all of the carnival rides and all that kind of stuff. I used to be attempting all of the rides and that was the primary time I had fried Oreos and that sort of stuff. So, I’d most likely say that was certainly one of my finest reminiscences.

RE: Favourite reminiscences from his journey to being drafted

All of the help I’ve had from so many various kinds of individuals, so many alternative individuals in my life. I’ve among the individuals with me right here right now in Vegas which have supported to me. My outdated wrestling coach, highschool soccer coach, o‐line coach. All types of individuals. Actually simply sort of seeing that each one that help and having them right here with me as I obtain my desires actually brings a smile to my face.

RE: What he did this morning earlier than the draft

Actually it was sort of loopy. I awoke this morning and it was most likely the primary time I felt somewhat nervousness. I used to be just about excited till like this morning. I used to be like dang, it is actually loopy, my entire life’s about to vary. We visited with the Commissioner and Thomas Davis was there and Troy Vincent was there to sort of simply instill some knowledge into us. That was good having a few of these conversations.

Actually after that I simply received prepared. I put my swimsuit on like at midday right now and the truth that I am lastly right here, it is loopy.

RE: If he thought-about himself a Panthers fan

I’d say that.

RE: How he thinks he may help the Panthers create a profitable season

I simply wish to do all the pieces I can to assist win. I really feel like that sort of simply begins with working. I am certain they’ll ship me a playbook quickly possibly attempt to get in that. Simply doing all the pieces I can to be one of the best participant on and off the sphere.

RE: If he spent his total childhood in Charlotte

I did.

RE: If he has gotten any texts or telephone calls that have been loopy and if he is even had an opportunity to have a look at his telephone but

I have not even had an opportunity. I have not occasion checked out my telephone since I received that decision.

RE: His plans for the evening and the truth that the group has already put an image of him on the Financial institution of America Stadium scoreboard

Oh actually? Dang, that is loopy. After I go away right here, I am about to go have a good time with my household. Rejoice with my entire help employees that is been right here. Actually simply excited.

RE: If he’ll get his personal place or keep together with his dad and mom

No, I will get a brand new place. I will get a brand new place for certain.

RE: How his expertise serving to flip round NC State will translate to the Panthers

Nicely, I imply I really feel just like the motto of NC State is admittedly arduous, robust, collectively. I really feel like this previous season the entire group actually purchased into that mindset. We wish to be arduous; we wish to be robust, we wish to be collectively. I really feel like that chemistry, that togetherness, is admittedly sort of what grew our group. Actually what helped us recover from that hump to eight wins. I really feel prefer it begins with connectivity. Having the ability to discuss to among the guys within the room and being about to only have that non-public aspect to them. I really feel like after getting that non-public aspect it makes it even simpler to critique one another and criticize one another and on the finish of the day it makes us all higher.

RE: How wrestling helped him in his progress as a soccer participant

It undoubtedly helped me so much. Stage modifications. Having the ability to transfer my physique round and throw my physique round and hold leverage. Having to sprawl and react shortly when guys are capturing on you. Hand combating too. Having to battle for place and all that kind of stuff. Additionally like a mindset factor too. On the wrestling mat it is simply you and one other opponent. It is only one‐on‐one. You have to do what you have to do. I really feel prefer it’s one of many hardest sports activities mentally and bodily so I really feel like a number of my soccer sport I can attribute that to wrestling.

RE: If it issues what place he performs

No. Simply wherever (offensive line) coach (James) Campen seems like we are able to win probably the most video games.

Normal Supervisor Scott Fitterer & Head Coach Matt Rhule

RE: In the event that they anticipated Ikem Ekwonu to be out there and what the dialogue was when all three of the highest offensive tackles have been out there

Scott Fitterer: I used to be truly very shocked that each one three tackles have been there. We had began to listen to that 4 defenders might go first, one, two, three, 4. However on this scenario, that is one of the best case situation for us. I can not say a few days in the past we’d ever have thought this could occur. We have been pleasantly shocked because it went. The Giants, we did not know what they have been going to do in that scenario with all three on the board. We thought they might go together with a go rusher at that time and never deal with and nonetheless get their man at seven, one of many three at seven. General, we have been very excited and may’t wait to get this man right here.

RE: Ideas on Ekwonu as a participant, how a lot he helps the offensive line and the way a lot dialog there was from different groups to commerce up for the decide

SF: He’s the tone setter. He is a great man. He’s bodily. He is robust. He is received each trait that you really want in an offensive lineman. We’re enthusiastic about that. He got here in right here and met with us every week or two in the past and actually impressed everyone a lot. (Offensive line coach) James Campen and (assistant offensive line coach Robert) Kugler, they went down, they met with him, they walked out they usually have been like, ‘Wow, this man simply blows us away together with his intelligence.’ Then you definitely simply watch the bodily fashion that he brings. I believe he is an ideal, welcome boost to this offensive line. A part of this offseason was to repair the offensive line. That was our intention. That was our precedence. I believe it is a nice step ahead for that. For the second a part of that query, you understand with the corners being gone, they have been those sort of driving all of the commerce discuss, so it was not as lively. There was a number of pre‐draft commerce discuss. Guys, hey if this occurs, this occurs. You bought a really feel from different groups as they have been beginning to come up for the corners or needed to come back up for the corners or the go rushers. When these guys went, it received somewhat bit extra quiet than we thought would possibly occur on the decide.

RE: What made Ekwonu stand out above the opposite tackles

SF: All of them, actually good guys. All of them had nice traits. We’d’ve been proud of any of them. What we actually like about Ickey, is he’s the tone setter. The intelligence, the bodily fashion of play. He brings all the intangibles that we would like in addition to the bodily attributes.

RE: If there have been there tempting commerce calls

SF: Nothing severe. We requested a pair groups in the event that they needed to flip with us as a result of we thought we may return one or two and possibly decide up one thing. However I believe different persons are wanting on the identical board that we’re proper there at six so there wasn’t a number of motion on the clock.

RE: If the group will contemplate buying and selling again into the primary spherical

SF: I believe Coach (Matt Rhule) and I are going to regroup after this, get our scouts collectively, get Mr. Tepper and we’ll take a look at each alternative to maneuver again up. But when we stroll out of this with Ickey, we’re CJ (Henderson) as our third spherical decide, that is a heck of a day. We’d like actually good stable soccer gamers. We do not want numbers of gamers. Strolling away with him, we’re actually excited.

RE: What Matt Rhule’s “signature Ikey story” was from the draft course of

Matt Rhule: I believe simply having him on the go to, clearly everybody sees the tape, sees the way in which that he can play. I imply even after we drafted him, Chanelle (Smith‐Walker) who works in our social media division, she’s taking footage, she stated, “We received Ikey?” She labored at NC State, she beloved him. I believe when he got here within the constructing, it was like a bolt of power. Simply actually a particular particular person to go together with his bodily fashion of play. There is no such thing as a doubt that he can go set, that he can run block, he is received all these instruments. I additionally consider the individual that he’s. He is from proper right here in Charlotte, he went to Windfall Day. That is going to be a particular place for him. We talked all the pieces from favourite eating places, to blocking the three‐approach. He is an individual that’s going to step into this locker room and our gamers are going to respect the way in which that he performs but additionally who he’s. I believe that 30 go to was, I imply it was probably the greatest issues that I’ve ever been part of. We walked away like wow, that is a grown man. I wish to echo the sentiment that Scott made, I really feel like we have added a number of actually good gamers and we have got a number of actually good gamers and a number of gamers have grown up over the past couple of years inside our techniques. So this was about getting an impression participant and we felt like Ike was an impression participant. I believe Scott and I most likely sat there this morning, went by like 50 eventualities, and never very a lot of them had him nonetheless being out there. That is not a discredit to him that is only a great point for the Carolina Panthers.

RE: If Ekwonu lives in Rhule or Fitterer’s neighborhoods

MR: No, no, no, I believe he is over extra by Matthews.

RE: If the group anticipates selecting later within the first spherical or in Day 2 of the draft, and what Ekwonu’s choice means for the quarterback place

SF: Yeah, I believe right now it is most likely, it is not going to occur right now. We’ll take a look at each alternative tomorrow. There are some methods we are able to do it, however we simply have to determine is it the precise approach, is that this what’s finest for the Panthers long run? There’s a number of talks that can occur with Matt, myself, Mr. Tepper and our crew however we’ve not received to that time but.

RE: If Fitterer thinks this can improve the possibilities of buying and selling for a veteran quarterback

SF: I believe we’ll take a look at each alternative on the market. There are nonetheless some actually good gamers on this draft and we’ll additionally take a look at each alternative outdoors the group.

RE: The added bonus that Ekwonu is from Charlotte and the way nice it’s for the group

MR: I all the time take into consideration youngsters, proper? I take into consideration youngsters, particularly coming off of COVID and youth sports activities shut down. And to assume again‐to‐again years we took a primary‐spherical draft decide from South Carolina and we simply took a primary‐spherical draft decide from North Carolina. Now I do know that a few of my neighbors that their colleges have been represented shall be upset with me, however we represented the states nicely. These guys are going to come back right here and it means one thing to be a Carolina Panther. These guys are going to come back right here, they are going to play actually arduous, they’ll play in entrance of household and mates. And when the youth league comes, or the Pop Warner group comes, or after they activate the sport, to see people who grew up the place they grew up I believe it is actually actually necessary. We’re simply going to take one of the best participant potential. I can not let you know how extremely rated we had Ikey on our board. It is a big day for us proper now. We’re attempting to be cool, calm and picked up however we’re fairly fired as much as get Ikey. However I do assume again‐to‐again years first‐spherical draft picks popping out of each states, I believe that is a reasonably cool storyline.

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