George Karlaftis excited to face fewer double-teams with Chiefs

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Kansas City Chiefs rookie DE George Karlaftis is incredibly excited about his new situation in the NFL.

A three-year starter at Purdue, a quick glance over Karlaftis’ raw stats might not reveal the most impressive numbers. In 27 games played, he notched 99 total tackles, 25.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks, one interception, five passes batted, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. One reason that Karlaftis wasn’t more productive in the box score is that he was often the focus of the opposing offensive coordinator’s game-planning.

He didn’t just face double-teams on a regular basis, but he also faced the rare triple-team more frequently than most in the 2022 NFL draft class.

Despite the constant double- and triple-teams, Karlaftis still posted the highest pass-rush win rates (blitzes/stunts removed) in the 2022 NFL draft class per Pro Football Focus. He was getting mauled by multiple offensive linemen and still winning often without any mechanisms used to create a 1-on-1 matchup for him.

“Everyone can see the double, triple teams and the attention,” Karlaftis told reporters at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. “At the end of the day that’s just something you’ve got to take advantage of. We knew we had 1-on-1’s on the other side of the ball. Most other guys were getting 1-on-1’s and we just had to capitalize on that.”

Coming to Kansas City, playing opposite Frank Clark and Chris Jones, it seems that Karlaftis will be the one who needs to take advantage of the 1-on-1 matchups. During some behind-the-scenes video on draft night, it was revealed that it’s something he’s looking forward to.

“I’m excited, I’m excited,” Karlaftis told his girlfriend on draft night. “They have a really good pass rusher on the other side and a really good defensive tackle, so no more double teams.”

Should Karlafts face double teams in the NFL early, he certainly has experience facing them and the mentality to overcome them.

“Well, you’re trying to get to the quarterback every time,” Karlaftis said. “. . . (Double and triple teams) make it harder, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve just got to be relentless. You’re out there fighting for your food basically and you’re a lion trying to get after a gazelle. You’re trying to get it at any means possible.”

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