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Ickey Ekwonu lights up the NFL Combine stage

NC State offensive tackle shows the personality to match his football talent

NFL: Scouting Combine
Ickey Ekwonu
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Ikem ‘Ickey’ Ekwonu absolutely won the media portion of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine on Thursday morning.

Ekwonu absolutely enthralled a horde of media on Thursday morning, including a heavy contingent of writers who cover the New York Giants — and some New York Jets writers, too.

Let’s go through some of the best of what I guess we will call “Ickey-isms” from Thursday.

Playing for the Giants or Jets?

“That would be great. I have family in New York and New Jersey, so it would be nice to be able to spend some time with them and be close to them. I’ve been in New York City a couple of times. I’ve been in New Jersey a couple of times, a beautiful area. It would definitely be a nice change of scenery.”

On questions about his pass protection

“I want coaches to understand I’m not just a run-blocking meathead or nothing like that. I have a lot of football IQ. I love talking football. I love talking about the game with coaches and learning. I’ve never been shy to put the work in and refine my game. Any weaknesses in my pass protection, I wanted the coaches and GMs to know I’m going to get that fixed. I definitely have the work ethic to put the work in and fix my mistakes.”

Going No. 1 overall?

“That would mean a lot to me. I think I’d be only the third NC State player to go No. 1 overall. Having that legacy, having that history to it, that means a lot to me as well. I’ve worked really hard all throughout my years at NC State, all throughout this offseason. I wouldn’t be shocked if I went No. 1 overall. I feel like that’s something that I’ve put the work in for and I feel like when that time comes, I would deserve it.”

What position would he like to play?

“I’ve always been a team player. I’ve never been shy to bump inside or do the best thing for the team. If you ask me personally, I definitely see myself as a left tackle. I feel like I’m barely scratching the surface of my potential at left tackle. I feel like with some more development, a little bit more refinement in my game, I can definitely be great at that position.”

Domination is fun

“I feel like you ask anybody back at (North Carolina) State, they are going to tell you I have the most fun on the field. I just love this game so much. I love the offensive line. I love being able to impose my will when I go against defenders. That’s something I take a lot of pride in. Everything I go on the field and put the helmet on, I have a lot of fun with this game and dominating people. That’s one of the best parts of the job.

“I talk a little bit less than I did my freshman year. I try to talk back. I just love dominating people.”

Life outside of football

“Outside of football, I had musical theater. I played a lot of different sports. It allowed mean opportunity to be a lot of different people. It gave me a new perspective. It feel like made me friendlier and empathetic to a lot of different people.

“I was in ”The Jungle Book” and “The Aristocrats.” I was in “101 Dalmatians,.” I actually got the lead in “101 Dalmatians.” I was Pongo the Dog, so that was a big step for me.”

Ekwonu said that lead role came in the fifth grade.

He is also a capable singer

“I was three years in chorus. I was in honor chorus my senior year. It was a big part of my life. You have to apply for it. There were 12 seniors that got to be on honors chorus, we got to make executive decisions, pick what music we want to sing. It was definitely fun for me.

“[I have] pretty long range. I can sing bass or tenor. There weren’t a lot of tenors. Guys that can hit those high notes Definitely pretty good range.”

Ekwonu wouldn’t take the bait when asked to give us a little sample of his vocal chops.

“I’m sure they’ll make me sing [at training camp]. I’ll definitely go out and show everyone I can sing. Iâ’m sure they will be a training camp video of me singing, so you all can see that.”

Final thoughts

Ekwonu has been called a “slam dunk” pick for the Giants if he is available at No. 5. He absolutely is, both talent- and personality-wise. Problem is, he is also increasingly in the conversation for No. 1 overall and might not make it that far down the draft board.