2022 NFL Draft Preview: George Karlaftis

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    George Karlaftis may just be football’s version of the Greek Freak! Born in Athens, Greece, Karlaftis moved to the United States in eighth grade, which is when he began playing football. Karlaftis is a very strong and powerful technician along the Purdue defensive line. Let’s hop into his season preview and see how he stands going into the 2021 season.

    Strengths: George Karlaftis possesses a great frame, standing at 6’4” and weighing 275 lbs. Along with that size, Karlaftis displays great strength and power. He puts his lower body strength on display when he drives his opponent backward off the line, and his upper body strength is displayed through his ability to press offensive linemen away from him and keep his arms locked. Karlaftis is athletic for his size as well, as he moves quite well when it comes to stunts, utilizing an effective spin move to beat offensive linemen. Karlaftis is quick for his size and does a very good job exploding out of his stance, converting that speed into power as he comes into contact with offensive linemen. He is versatile in various schemes, as he lines up all along the defensive line, rushing off of the edge as well as from the interior. When rushing from the edge, Karlaftis shows the ability to keep his outside arm free and use his inside arm to keep space from the tackle, allowing him to both hit and sack the quarterback. He rushes with great aggression, playing rough with the offensive linemen. He also shows the ability to shoot inside the gaps and disrupt running plays up the middle. While playing inside, Karlaftis puts other moves on display, showing effective swim moves and push-pull moves. These moves and his disruptive ability are on full display in the 2020 game vs. Iowa.

    Weaknesses: Although Karlaftis is very athletically gifted for his size, he lacks some flexibility in his ankles while rushing off the edge, as he struggles to dip and get good bend. Because he lacks the true bend and flexibility that teams look for in today’s NFL, a move inside might be favored for him. He does show great versatility along the line, but would probably have to put on some more weight if his main position becomes defensive tackle instead of defensive end. Although he has solid length, he can let offensive linemen get their hands on his chest and control him at times. Karlaftis can also get controlled by offensive linemen who get their hands on his side. He needs to work on identifying and taking on pullers to prevent getting controlled from the side. Although Karlaftis is fairly productive in the run game, he leaves quite a few plays on the table. At times, he is too slow to make a move to shed his block. Also, when Karlaftis does get to the running back at the line of scrimmage, he can fail to wrap him up at times. This lets the running back slip through Karlaftis’ arms, thus allowing for more yards to be gained by him. Lastly, Karlaftis was limited to three games in 2020 due to injury and COVID-19.

    Bottom Line: Karlaftis is a very solid defensive line prospect for the 2022 NFL Draft, as he is explosive and very athletic for his size. He has both great upper and lower body strength and possesses a great ability to convert his speed off the line to power. Karlaftis has a good variety of pass rush moves as well. He has a nice frame for an edge rusher, but lacks flexibility and bend on the edge. His versatility makes him a fit for various schemes. He has a few things to work on, including his consistency in wrapping up tackles. Assuming Karlaftis regains his 2020 form, he will be one of the top defensive linemen in the 2022 NFL Draft.

     

    Edited By: Rupayan “Abs” Samanta.

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