Kansas City Chiefs rookie George Karlaftis made this first impression on Andy Reid

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·2 min read
Jill Toyoshiba/jtoyoshiba@kcstar.com
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Kansas City Chiefs first-round draft pick George Karlaftis was an easy player to spot during the team’s three-day rookie minicamp from Saturday through Monday.

That’s because numerous times, the Purdue defensive end was flying around the edge to put pressure on the quarterback ... and sometimes even sprinting when coach Andy Reid said it wasn’t completely necessary.

“He goes 100 miles an hour. Walk-throughs, everything. We’ve gotta slow him down,” Reid said with a laugh following the conclusion of the three-day minicamp. “But I’ll tell you, it looks like he’s got a nice feel for the game.”

Case in point: On Day 2 of minicamp, Reid said the Chiefs implemented specific blitz schemes that required Karlaftis to drop into coverage while other teammates blitzed. Reid was impressed by the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Karlaftis then, saying the defensive end showed an ability to move well in space.

“He’s got good hands it looks like — again, this is just the work that we’re doing,” Reid said. “But that motor is probably the thing that jumps out at you.”

Karlaftis’ effort level — the Chiefs selected him with the 30th pick in the recent NFL Draft — seemed to align with what he promised during a draft-day interview with reporters. Then, Karlaftis said he was eager to “come in 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.”

Ahead of the Chiefs’ first day of rookie minicamp Saturday, Karlaftis also was asked about being a high-intensity player.

“That’s how I like to play the game,” Karlaftis said. “I think that comes from training and the desire to win and get after the quarterback and help the team win.”

Now, Reid says, some effort will be made to make sure Karlaftis isn’t going too hard in drills. That’s especially important in walk-through sessions, where Reid said one player ramping up when others aren’t could lead to potential injuries.

Reid’s advice to Karlaftis and other rookies, even when trying to prove themselves: Just go with the tempo that the team gives.

Having said all that, Reid seemed pleased to have an eager player ready to join the team’s defensive end rotation in 2022.

“He goes,” Reid said of Karlaftis, “and goes.”