Saturday, August 6, 2022

NFL executive compares Chiefs rookie to three-time Defenseman of the Year

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Rather than push him into the starting role in Week 1, the Kansas City Chiefs decided to take some of the pressure off first-round pass rusher George Karlaftis when they signed veteran Carlos Dunlap on a year.

It was probably the wise decision in the long run, considering Karlaftis’ draft billing is raw talent that will take time to develop. He only played two full seasons at Purdue, but the potential was obvious for NFL contenders — 14 sacks and 29 tackles to a loss in just 26 games.

Tweak this natural soccer player skill and you could hit the jackpot. One NFL executive even likened Karlaftis’ ceiling to a legendary five-time All-Pro and three-time Defensive Player of the Year.

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Padded drills have finally allowed fans and media to get a good look at Karlaftis and he hasn’t disappointed.

The Purdue product is a power rusher at heart and at heart a video of him Driving the 6-foot-6 OT Roderick Johnson into a full back pedal at camp sparked a thought by Heavys NFL insider Matt Lombardo.

That bosses really got a winner in George Karlaftis and excellent value for money,” said Lombardo. “Before the NFL draft, a manager told me he’d seen shadows of a young JJ Watt in the NFL Purdue product…”

Lombardo also noted the similarities to Watt on draft night, tweet: “What are the bosses board George Karlaftis? Did an NFC Human Resources employee tell me, “He reminds me of JJ Watt when Watt came out. An explosive and versatile playmaker that has high motor skills and can line up at 3, 5 or 7. Very strong kid.’”

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It will be difficult to live up to a comparison like Watt, who is likely a Hall of Fame pass rusher and a first-round defensive end. However, the youngster’s work ethic fits the description.

Watt has always been known as a hard worker and Karlaftis seems to live by a similar creed. He and Frank Clark have become quite a couple and spend a lot of time together to stay late after training. KC Sports Network was share video of the two going through drills and basics together.

It seems the youngster is trying to add some new moves to his pass-rushing arsenal, eager to learn in any way possible. That’s promising considering that Karlaftis’ biggest concerns are highly fixable.

Things like technique, footwork, positioning and hand placement. He already has the physical characteristics and the high motor skills as well as the desire.

And with Dunlap joining the group, that’s just another experienced head for Karlaftis to pick. The 21-year-old is a sponge at the moment and the more established veterans around him the better.

That includes defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who is no doubt excited to mold another young disruptor in the making.

If all goes well, Karlaftis will be enjoying quarterbacks alongside Chris Jones and his two fellow edge rushers in no time. Maybe, just maybe, he’s even showing shades of a player like Watt.

That includes defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who is no doubt excited to mold another young disruptor in the making.

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