2022 NFL Draft: George Karlaftis Scouting Report

George Karlaftis NFL draft

2022 NFL Draft: George Karlaftis Scouting Report

Position: EDGE
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 266 lbs
School: Purdue

Bench Press: 21
Vertical Jump: 38
Broad Jump: 121
3 Cone: 6.89
20 Yard Shuttle: 4.36

George Karlaftis NFL Draft Profile

Karlaftis is a powerful and ferocious EDGE that lined up at defensive end for Purdue in 2021. He immigrated to the United States from Athens, Greece in the eighth grade and has since played as one of the best football players in the country at every level. Karlaftis was tagged as a four-star recruit by ESPN, Rivals, and 247Sports and finished his high school career by winning the 2018 national Defensive Player of the Year award.

His collegiate career started with a bang as the defensive end racked up 17.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a freshman before being named a first-team Freshman All-American. Karlaftis then battled injury and COVID during his sophomore year — limiting him to just two games in 2020. However, he was still able to achieve Academic All-Big 10 honors before returning to full health as a junior. In his third year at Purdue, Karlaftis returned to form and was named a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award while receiving third-team All-American honors.

The edge class in 2022 is deep but there may not be a player with better hand use than Karlaftis. He has maybe the largest toolbox of pass rushing moves in the 2022 class and puts them to use often and effectively. His hands are incredibly violent and he combines sudden power with a mix of chop and rip moves to swim past tackles with ease. Karlaftis has surprising lateral quickness that allows him to blow past defenders from a multitude of different angles. If his first step catches the opposing tackle off-guard, his active hands allow him to swat off tackles before they get a chance to recover. Karlaftlis also demonstrates a sneaky ability to dip and dislodge defenders from time to time when pass rushing from the inside. In short, Karlaftis never sticks to tackles.

Where he struggles the most is in the run game. While Karlaftis is deceptively fast for a hulking player, he powers forward with his feet and legs while struggling to swiftly change direction. When he has to revert his vision and finish the play against a player in space, his lack of closing speed is evident. 

Strengths

  • Incredible first step allows him to occasionally blow by opposing tackles before they can get set
  • Explosive power in his bull rush stuns offensive tackles and allows him to push back more than just one player at a time
  • Active and developed hands give him versatility in his pass-rushing moves and counters
  • Ability to stack moves is evident through a mix of power and finesse
  • Rarely gets stuck to tackles in both the run and passing game
  • Despite being a larger, stronger player; does not wear out as the game goes on and at times, gets more dangerous

Weaknesses

  • Unimpressive change of direction can lead to running backs gliding by him even if he properly reads the mesh point
  • Can be overly anxious with his counters leading to lost leverage
  • Lack of closing speed and range continually show up when chasing down running backs and more mobile quarterbacks
  • Mightily struggled against the Ohio State tackles and tight ends
  • May have already reached his athletic ceiling
  • Counters will need to come out quicker and smoother at the NFL level

NFL Comparison: Justin Smith

Teams with Need at Position: Atlanta FalconsArizona CardinalsBaltimore RavensChicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Detroit LionsHouston Texans, New York JetsPhiladelphia EaglesSeattle Seahawks

Projection: First round

Bottom Line on George Karlaftis

Karlaftis projects to be a hand in the dirt defensive end in both even and odd fronts. He has played relatively well as a stand-up EDGE. Yet Karlaftis is at his best when he is exploding out of his two-point stance and bull-rushing past opposing tackles. Karlaftis comes with a pass rushing plan on every down. He uses his arsenal of pass rushing moves to club and swim his way past offensive players. While it may have not shown up on the score sheet (only 5.0 sacks), he continually pushed the pocket despite offensive coordinators double-teaming on many plays in 2021. Karlaftis is not the tremendously high-ceiling and ultra-athletic pass rusher a lot of his contemporaries are. Yet, he is a strong and quick technician who understands proper hand placements and how to stack his pass rushing moves at a very high level.  

Games Watched: Oregon State (2021), Notre Dame (2021), Iowa (2021), Ohio State (2021)

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