With the No. 30 overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs have selected Purdue EDGE/defensive end George Karlaftis. Karlaftis immediately projects to make an impact on the Chiefs’ defensive front, in addition to being the team’s most highly drafted building block on the edges of their defensive line for years to come.
Before adding Karlaftis, the Chiefs entered the 2022 NFL Draft with a massive issue at their defensive end/EDGE position. Even after a short-term restructuring of the contract of veteran defensive end Frank Clark, the Chiefs’ depth chart was extremely sparse.
Clark and 2020 fifth-round pick Mike Danna were penciled in as starters, with 2021 fourth-round pick Joshua Kaindoh as the only other noteworthy EDGE on the roster. Danna is a nice rotational player and the Chiefs selected Kaindoh for his still-untapped upside, but entering the draft, the Chiefs clearly had room for a top-of-the-line pass-rusher in addition to later picks who could add to the spin. At No. 30, the Chiefs landed Karlaftis.
Before the draft, Jordan Foote of Arrowhead Report wrote about the Chiefs’ chances to draft Karlaftis, what he brings to the table, and why drafting him too early could backfire.
In a vacuum, Karlaftis appears to be a Chiefs-style pick. He’s a near-prototypical Spagnuolo defensive end from a body standpoint, he plays quality run defense and he has the ability to win with power on the outside or interior. For a team that needs major help, he can likely step in and be effective to a degree in year one.
On the flip side of that corner, Kansas City should be looking for elite-level athletes and tremendous upside at the defensive end spot. Depending on the board near the end of the first round, names like David Ojabo, Arnold Ebiketie or possibly even Boye Mafe offer greater potential than Karlaftis. They win in different ways but are just as enticing of prospects.
Scroll to Continue
Karlaftis had the second-highest pass-rush win rate in the Big 10, trailing just No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid had a few choice compliments for Karlaftis in his comments to the media after the first round.
“He is a relentless motor,” Reid said, per Herbie Teope. “He is fun to watch.”
NFL Draft Bible evaluated Karlaftis ahead of the draft and weighed the pros and cons of what Karlaftis can do in the NFL.
George Karlaftis has the prototypical body type of an even front defensive end. He has the well-rounded ability to be an immediate impact starter but his lesser athleticism limits his ceiling.
The 2022 NFL Draft features various defensive end and outside linebackers that will make waves as rookies. George Karlaftis should be considered one of the class’s top power rushers. He complements his natural strength with hand usage and length. What’s more, he is an explosive mover. That said, the Purdue star is limited by inconsistency, stiffness and a one-track style. He projects as an underwhelming starter early but can grow to a Pro Bowl level.
Karlaftis tested very well in the pre-draft process, bringing some much-needed athleticism to the Chiefs’ EDGE group.
This selection comes after the team traded the No. 29, No. 94 and No. 121 picks to the New England Patriots for the No. 21 overall pick, which the team used to select former Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie.