The Kansas City Chiefs continued to add to their defense on Thursday night, selecting Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis with the No. 30 overall selection.
Here are five things to know about the newest member of Kansas City's pass rush.
1. Karlaftis was among the most productive edge rushers in the country last season.
The six-foot-four, 266-pound Karlaftis racked up 54 pressures last season as one of the top edge rushers in all of college football. He earned Associated Press Third-Team All-American honors and First-Team Big 10 recognition following the year in addition to being named a finalist for the Ted Hendricks Award, which is presented to the top defensive end in the nation.
Here's what the folks at Pro Football Focus had to say about the Chiefs' selection, which was one of only two picks in Round 1 to earn an "Elite" grade from PFF:
"Karlaftis' slide ends with the Chiefs at 30th overall, making him the biggest steal of Round 1. He turned in a 90.6 pass-rush grade as one of the few game-wreckers in college football last season. Also known as the college football Greek Freak, the 6-foot-4, 266-pounder boasts some of the best hand usage in the class and plays with big-time power and an impressive get-off. Karlaftis turned in the fourth-best win rate in the Power Five on true pass-rushes this past season despite being consistently chipped, doubled and cut."
Additionally, Karlaftis posted the second-best "pass rush win rate" among all college edge rushers behind only Aidan Hutchinson, who went No. 2 overall to Detroit.
In total, Karlaftis recorded 30.5 tackles-for-loss and 14.5 sacks during his 27 games in school.
2. He possesses the versatility to play all over the defensive front.
Karlaftis was primarily an edge defender during his career at Purdue, but his measurables and style of play translate to any position up front. Here's what PFF wrote about Karlaftis in their pre-draft analysis:
"Karlaftis wins by bringing it snap after snap. He doesn't have to come off the field, he can line up anywhere along the defensive line and he can still consistently make an impact…Versatility is a massive plus. He can legitimately line up inside full-time."
That ability will be intriguing for Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who often likes to shuffle personnel along the defensive line.
3. Karlaftis was an iron man for the Boilermakers and rarely came off the field.
That versatility meant that Karlaftis was able to make his presence felt in any situation. He averaged 55.6 snaps-per-game in 2021, logging at least 49 snaps in all but one game. The Athletic's Dane Brugler noted the following in his pre-draft guide:
"His body is his temple, and he is religious about his training and nutrition to keep himself in peak condition."
That may seem like an obvious thing for any professional athlete to prioritize, but it's noteworthy that in a book dedicated to hundreds of prospects, Karlaftis' dedication to staying in peak condition was worth writing down. His strength is also a product of that commitment, as Karlaftis wins with a devastating bull-rush and tremendous physicality.
4. He was lauded for his attitude and mentality at Purdue.
As physically gifted as Karlaftis is, it's his mental approach that truly separates him from others. Here's what Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm had to say about Karlaftis:
"He lives in the building trying to improve and get better. He takes everything extremely seriously and puts in the effort each and every day, well beyond what most guys do."
Karlaftis echoed a similar sentiment following the conclusion of the first round on Thursday:
"I'm going to start off as the lowest man on the totem pole and work my way up. I'm going to earn my stripes and work as hard as I possibly can," Karlaftis said. "When you find [something] you love, work as hard as you possibly can at it. I don't think it makes much sense to dedicate almost your whole life to something [if you're not going to give it] your maximum ability every single time you're out there."
5. Karlaftis was born in Greece and is still relatively new to football.
A unique story, Karlaftis was born in Athens and was a standout goalkeeper on Greece's 16-and-under national water polo team, according to Dane Brugler. It wasn't until he was 13 years old that Karlaftis moved to the United States and first started playing football. He quickly picked up the game, however, earning National Defensive Player of the Year honors at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl just four years later as a high school senior.
For more on Karlaftis' journey and the importance of family in his life, check out this outstanding article at ESPN.com. Karlaftis' road to the NFL started halfway around the world, and after continually proving the doubters wrong at every turn, he's headed to Kansas City as a first-round pick.
The Kansas City Chiefs added to their defense by selecting Purdue Edge George Karlaftis in the 1st Round (Pick 30) of the first day of 2022 NFL Draft