PFF projects strong rookie season for Chiefs DE George Karlaftis

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Pro Football Focus R&D head Eric Eager recently took a look at first-round edge rushers using the PFF IQ system to project future performances. While Kansas City Chiefs rookie DE George Karlaftis wasn’t selected until pick No. 30, he’s projected to have one of the stronger rookie seasons among edge rushers.

These college-to-pro projections rely heavily on college production and athleticism. Well, Karlaftis was one of the more productive edge rushers by PFF’s metrics in 2021 with a pass-rush grade in the 93rd percentile and a pass-rush win rate in the 98th percentile. His athleticism came in above average, with good vertical jump, broad jump and shuttle times. Those two factors combined make for some pretty solid projections for Karlaftis, both as a pass-rusher and a run defender.

Getting after the quarterback in 2022, Karlaftis is projected to have 52.7 pressures (12.4% pressure percentage) and 8.9 sacks (2.1% sack percentage) on 425 pass-rushing snaps. That number would have been good for 22nd among edge defenders in 2021.

As a run defender, Karlaftis is projected to have 15 stops on 250 run-defense snaps. That number isn’t quite as good as his pass-rush numbers, as it would have ranked 32nd among edge defenders last season.

Of first-round edge rushers only the No. 2 overall pick, Lions DE Aidan Hutchinson, was projected to have more sacks in 2022 (9.4). Hutchinson was also the only player with a higher projected pressure and sack percentages (13.4% and 2.2%).

These are projections for a reason, but they’re influenced by a strong set of data points. Needless to say, if the Chiefs managed to get the second-most productive pass-rusher out of the 2022 NFL draft with pick No. 30, they’re going to be quite pleased with their draft decision.

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