NFL Draft Profile – George Karlaftis
School – Purdue Boilermakers
Position – Edge
Class – Junior
Height – 6’4” Weight – 275lbs
For a NFL Draft Profile – George Karlaftis is exciting for the Boilermakers! Purdue hasn’t had a player picked in the 1st round of the NFL draft since Ryan Kerrigan in 2011, but that run will end in 2022. George Karlaftis has ripped apart Big Ten offensive lines for long enough, and will turn his attention to NFL fronts very soon. Karlaftis was born and raised in Athens, Greece (not the town in Georgia!) As is typical of European prospects, he came to American Football later than many of his peers but has developed quickly into a top end power rusher.
Karlaftis burst onto the scene in his freshman season with 54 tackles, an interception and 7.5 sacks in 2019. 2020 was a COVID disrupted year that resulted in Karlaftis only playing in 3 games. But he returned to form in 2021 and bolstered his draft stock. He racked up another 4.5 sacks as well as 2 forced fumbles, plus the traits not captured by statistics have been on full display too. The number of double teams he has drawn, QB hurries, the range of pass rush moves he has in his arsenal – these will all be noted and valued by NFL front offices.
Karlaftis has the size and strength to translate his talents to the NFL. He stands at 6’4, weighs 275 pounds and has the intelligence to use that to his advantage. Karlaftis has the best bull-rush in the 22 class, converting his size and athleticism into an overpowering rush move. His ability to turn his physical traits into pure power is impressive, and a scary prospect for anyone in his way!
Despite a large frame, Karlaftis is a master at getting skinny. He can slip through double teams and gaps a man his size simply shouldn’t! His low centre of gravity gives him natural leverage against opponents. His flexible hips help him maneuver through those gaps smoothly. Combine this with a ridiculous number of hand counters and a tireless, unrelenting effort and you’ll see why he’s touted as a top 10 pick.
Areas of Improvement
Karlaftis has great size as mentioned, but he doesn’t have the ideal length teams might be looking for. The issue here is that opponents can get to his frame quickly. Holding him up and generally disrupting his movements and pass-rush patterns. Karlaftis needs to work on keeping offensive linemen at arm’s length to avoid getting caught in a trench battle for too long.
He isn’t the most flexible or bendy edge rusher in the class, but does have his moments round the outside. Karlaftis is fully committed when he makes a decision which brings great tenacity and power. However, when he needs to adjust it can take a while for him to shift gears. Occasionally this results in a running back evading a tackle or an inability to shake a blocker in the run game. There are examples on tape of Karlaftis overrunning when needing to redirect, where a bit more control would allow him to bounce out quicker and more effectively.
Karlaftis is being projected as the 3rd edge off the board, and I can’t really argue with that. He belongs in his own tier or edge rushers after Thibadeux and Hutchinson, and step above the others. He is a brilliant power rusher. This gives him the versatility to play outside or inside and will be a highly coveted man in April. Karlaftis should be a top 10 pick and a leading light for whichever franchise gives him a home.
Written by Jack @JackCDCTT