2022 NFL Mock Draft: Picks 17-24
17 – Cleveland Browns: Chris Olave – Wide Receiver – Ohio State
The Browns moved on from Odell Beckham Jr. last week. For a team with Super Bowl aspirations, they need more than just Jarvis Landry, Donovan Peoples-Jones, and Anthony Schwartz under contract for 2022. Olave is an impressive route runner who is capable of winning deep. On an offense committed to running the ball, he could feast when Baker Mayfield throws vertically.
18 – Kansas City Chiefs: George Karlaftis – Defensive End – Purdue
The Chiefs need help in a lot of areas on defense but a dangerous pass rush could help solve a lot of problems. In Karlaftis they get a versatile player with an outstanding motor who is capable of rushing from anywhere.
He’d add much-needed physicality to the defense and would give opposing offenses something else to think about. With an offense as good as the Chiefs should be putting out there, a few extra pressures could be the difference between winning and losing.
19 – Atlanta Falcons: Drake Jackson – Defensive End – USC
The Falcons have holes all over the roster but they have to get better on the defensive line. Dante Fowler could move on and he’s been their best edge rusher, despite inconsistent production. Jackson has the athleticism that defensive coordinator Dean Pees looks for on the outside, which will enable him to drop into coverage when the situation calls for it. With Grady Jarrett inside, Jackson will be able to take advantage of one-on-one matchups.
20 – New England Patriots: Jahan Dotson – Wide Receiver – Penn State
It’s early in his career but Mac Jones looks like a home run pick at quarterback. If he’s to take that next step, though, then he’s going to need better receiving options. Jones excelled when going deep at Alabama and Dotson is one of the top deep threats in the draft. He would add speed and explosiveness and become a reliable downfield target.
21 – New Orleans Saints: Drake London – Wide Receiver – USC
The Saints will be keeping an eye on quarterbacks but, assuming he recovers from his torn ACL, they could opt to put their faith in Jameis Winston for another season. They desperately need a talent infusion at wide receiver and London would give them just that, irrespective of whether Michael Thomas is back.
He’s a big target who Sean Payton would love. London won’t play again for USC due to an ankle injury but he should be healthy and could dominate from day one.
22 – Pittsburgh Steelers: Ikem Ekwonu – Offensive Tackle – North Carolina State
Ben Roethlisberger has struggled massively this season but the Steelers may have to look at adding a veteran quarterback in free agency if they’re picking at this point. Past offenses in Pittsburgh have relied on strong offensive line play, though, and inconsistency has held back the offense. Ekwonu has the size and strength to open holes for Najee Harris in the run game and give whoever is passing the ball longer in the pocket.
23 – Las Vegas Raiders: Treylon Burks – Wide Receiver – Arkansas
The Henry Ruggs news has left the Raiders short at the wide receiver position. While Darren Waller will continue to be the focal point of the passing game, there’s a reason that the team went out and invested in Ruggs in the 2020 NFL Draft. Adding firepower will only help Derek Carr and Burks would give him another big target who he can count on.
24 – Dallas Cowboys: Sean Rhyan – Offensive Tackle – UCLA
Left tackle may seem like a strange direction for the Cowboys to go in given they have Tyron Smith, one of the best in the game. The Cowboys have been struggling with offensive line depth, though, and Smith missed 14 games last season.
He’s dealing with another injury this season, although the team hopes he can play through it as often as possible. Rhyan wouldn’t be rushed into the lineup and could learn from Smith while providing a backup plan who won’t sink the offense.