George Karlaftis, Edge, Purdue
With the theme of players who produced quickly in their freshman year, none may compare to Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis. Karlaftis started his 2019 freshman season with 14 pressures in his very first game. Continuing on in the season, Karlaftis finished his freshman campaign with 55 pressures resulting in 7.5 sacks.
In the bizarre season for many in 2020, Karlaftis wasn’t able to produce much due to the shortened season and an injury. Coming back this year hasn’t had the same statistical output you’d expect, having only 2.5 sacks so far, but he has shown up against the competition. Against then #13 ranked Notre Dame and #2 ranked Iowa, Karlaftis was able to put a sack on the board against each team.
Karlaftis is able to produce in each the run and pass game with his rather large size. Being 6’4 and 275 pounds, he provides the ability to play as a traditional, all-around defensive end. His ability to provide a physical presence, while showing athletic prowess, makes him considered one of the best pure defensive ends in the draft by many experts.
While he doesn’t sit atop the ranks of players such as Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux, Michigan’s Aidan Hutchison, or Texas A&M’s DeMarvin Leal, Karlaftis sits in the second tier of defensive ends in the draft. Already showing his potential as a freshman, Karlaftis could provide support for the Chiefs in stopping the run and making sure quarterbacks have more than one massive defensive lineman to worry about.