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As things stand right now, the Giants have two picks in the Top 10 of the 2022 NFL Draft, making them extremely important for this current rebuild the team is on. With the team expected to have a new GM in the front office, his or her job is to make sure these two picks are the right ones.
With that in mind, we’re taking an in-depth look at some potential options for Big Blue with these picks, this time with Purdue DE George Karlaftis.
By the Numbers
- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 275 pounds
- 40-yard dash: 4.69 seconds
- Vertical jump: 37 inches
- Stats (career): 26 games, 14.0 sacks, 97 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, six passes defended.
- Accolades & Awards: 2021 First Team All-Big Ten, 2020 second-team All-Big Ten, First Team AP Freshman All-American
The Draft Network: George Karlaftis might be the best power rusher in this year’s class. This is a prospect who exploded onto the scene during a breakout 2019 freshman season and has since pieced together another tremendous campaign for the Boilermakers in 2021. I’m most impressed with Karlaftis’ motor and close quarters combat. He does not appear to play with the ideal length and separation skills as an edge defender, but he’s become quite refined as a puncher and with his shedding techniques to help enable him to win ground and get good “knockback” at the point of attack. Karlaftis moved to the United States at the age of 13 from Greece and was a high school stand out in both football and track & field, earning back-to-back state titles in Indiana for the shot put (60 feet, 0.5 inches as a junior) along with endless football accolades. Upon arriving with Purdue, Karlaftis quickly made an impact and was named a first-team Freshman All-American in 2019. His development as a player has seen him complement the urgency he plays with and raw power with more nuanced counters, precision striking, and a strong sense and feel for running the arc with speed. I get the sense that Karlaftis isn’t quite the same reactive athlete as some of his contemporaries in this year’s class, but he’s become quite the technician at the position and offers an impressive nose for rushing the passer.
Pro Football Network: The most impressive aspect of Karlaftis’ scouting report is his overall athleticism. For his size, he moves incredibly well, surprisingly so. He displays excellent burst, can change direction smoothly, and can often be found chasing down the opposition. His combination of size and speed is the stuff of nightmares for opposing quarterbacks. From a technical perspective, Karlaftis has the tools to be an impactful pass rusher at the next level. His hand usage allows him to overcome offensive tackles around the edge. Moreover, the Greece product has demonstrated several pass-rush moves in his arsenal. Furthermore, he can read what the offensive lineman offers him and win accordingly. This is best shown by multiple examples of him attacking outside then winning inside against a soft inside shoulder.
Why Karlaftis makes sense for the Giants
The Giants’ defense, unlike the rest of their team, actually has a foundation in place. They have a good mix of young talent and veteran presence that has produced results the past two seasons.
But they still lack that elite edge rusher, which is why many believe one of their first round picks could result in landing that long-awaited player.
Karlaftis makes sense based on where the Giants are at now. Aidan Hutchinson got all the love in the Big Ten due to his insane production at Michigan, and he has a chance to be the No. 1 overall selection. But don’t sleep on Karlaftis, the Greece product that has also turned heads during his Boilermaker career.
The one thing you’ll notice right away is the motor – he simply doesn’t quit until the whistle is blown. That’s the type of edge the Giants need, someone that can get gritty and dirty in the trenches, and even if the result isn’t a sack, pressure is created more times than not.
Big Blue hasn’t been able to make the passer uncomfortable consistently since their Super Bowl year in 2011, when Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul were having a field day on opposing offensive lines. That’s not saying Karlaftis is the missing puzzle piece, but he could very well be one of them to make that a narrative again at 1925 Giants Drive.
Motor. Power. Crafty when needed. He’s an anomaly compared to these long, slim modern-day edge rushers that use speed and elusiveness to take down the quarterback. His old school nature might be just what the Giants need off the edge, and he’s certainly Top 10 worthy.
- The Draft Network: Former Bengals DE Justin Smith