Chiefs rookie edge rusher George Karlaftis has first-round expectations attached to him, but it should be no surprise if he takes some time to truly impress
For a brief moment in time, rumors were buzzing about the Chiefs packaging their two first-round picks to move up far enough in the draft to get a defensive end receiving national hype. It turned out, that Andy Reid and Steve Spagnuolo knew exactly who they wanted all along, and day one of the NFL Draft played out perfectly for them to sit tight and take him. As soon as George Karlaftis’ name was read at the podium, and he officially joined the Kingdom, visions of an All-Pro edge rusher began dancing in fans’ heads.
At that same point in time, there was hardly anything to be excited about in regard to the Chiefs’ defensive line. An aging Frank Clark was the cream at the top of the depth chart, and there were no reinforcements to be found. Brett Veach could have turned in a card reading Joe Shmoe for pick No. 30, and we all would have believed that the situation was improved. To be clear, Karlaftis is a hell of a player and has an extremely keen ability to get to the passer. In the wake of the past week’s events, however, it is time to pull in the reigns a tad on the expectations set for the rookie.
Frankly, any contribution whatsoever is welcomed, but there are a couple of things to note about what’s gone on in the early days of camp that will make an impact on the D-line snap share. Firstly, we’ll begin with some really good stuff for Karlaftis.
It sounds as if, so far, the rookie is seizing the moment and soaking up every ounce of information he can. Beyond Spags’ praise, he’s been spotted taking extra time with the veterans.
And now, for the reality. There are two veterans in town after the Chiefs signed Carlos Dunlap to a one-year deal worth up to $8 million, and apparently, he came to K.C. with some promises of playing time. In the video above, it appears that both Dunlap and Clark are in excellent shape, and their experience is likely to earn favor over the rookie. At least in the early part of the season. Mike Danna has been mixed in with the defensive tackles a couple of times in camp, which translates to opening up rotational reps for Karlaftis.
The kid is tough, and he is good enough to have earned his current opportunity, but he was never in the discussion to be picked at first overall. He slid to the Chiefs in the 30th overall slot in the draft for a reason, and it is imperative to set a realistic expectation for him in year one.
The pass rush is already massively improved from last season, and we’ve yet to play a down. Give George Karlaftis a chance to be the sponge that Spagnuolo says he is, and to take his time to grow into an impactful role in this defense. He will get there, but don’t be shocked if his numbers don’t blow us away this season.