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NFL Draft Profile: George Karlaftis, Defensive End, Purdue Boilermakers

NFL draft profile scouting report for Purdue defensive end, George Karlaftis


Pos: DE
Ht: 6036
Wt: 266
Hands: 1028
Arms: 3258
Wingspan: 7878
Bench: 21
Shuttle: 4.36
Vertical: 38
Broad Jump: 1001
DOB: 4/3/01
Eligible: 2022
Indianapolis, IN
West Lafayette High School

George Karlaftis
Purdue Boilermakers


George Karlaftis has the prototypical body type of an even front defensive end. He has the well-rounded ability to be an immediate impact starter but his lesser athleticism limits his ceiling.


A player’s draft profile largely comes down to traits, production and favorable projection to an NFL scheme. Purdue’s George Karlaftis boasts all three. A well-built athlete, the Boilermakers’ star has high-level starter potential at defensive end in both a 4-3 and a 3-4 defense; he is a better fit in a 4-3 front. He can kick inside to 4-3 defensive tackle on passing downs. Karlaftis has consistently won since reaching the college level, in part, because of his active and precise hands. He initiates contact with NFL length, flashing dominance when he wins leverage. What’s more, he frequently strings moves together. In general, the Purdue standout is a very dangerous power rusher. Karlaftis properly identifies and attacks an offensive tackle’s soft inside shoulder. He has heavy hands to put linemen on their heels and excellent speed to power to flatten to the passer through engagement. Further, Karlaftis is an above-average mover for his size; his linear burst is particularly impressive. The Greece native makes clean inside cuts and has an effective inside spin. The experienced starter’s quickness, hands and timing make linemen whiff often. Even when he is unable to bring the quarterback down, Karlaftis regularly pushes the pocket to make the signal-caller uncomfortable. The defensive end can operate as both the looper and the crasher on stunts. Against the run, Karlaftis has the length to stack, window and replace. 


Inconsistent players, by nature, tend to show their best and their worst week-in and week-out. One of college football’s more dominant pass rushers, Karlaftis is somewhat erratic from play to play. His first step is sometimes impressive and sometimes completely uninspiring. The power rusher is slow in and out of changes of direction. Further, his inconsistent pad level and occasionally wide hands give up his chest. What’s more, Karlaftis struggles to work through contact to his frame. He is completely locked up at times. Even tight ends have success blocking him. Moreover, the Purdue star is very stiff in his ankles and at the waist. Consequently, Karlaftis works too far upfield up the outside track and cannot corner to the passer. Even if he beats linemen with speed at the snap, he cannot always finish the play. The Greece native overuses his spin move; this makes it more predictable and, as a result, less effective. In run defense, Karlaftis is removed and sealed from plays too easily. He plays with unreliable gap integrity. He is also an inconsistent tackler, ostensibly lacking grip strength at the point of contact. He plays the ball carrier’s inside leg and exhibits questionable effort. Karlaftis struggled against NFL-caliber linemen and tight ends at Ohio State in 2021; the Buckeyes revealed that the threat he poses is substantially reduced if he cannot overpower his opponents. 


The 2022 NFL Draft features various defensive end and outside linebackers that will make waves as rookies. George Karlaftis should be considered one of the class’s top power rushers. He complements his natural strength with hand usage and length. What’s more, he is an explosive mover. That said, the Purdue star is limited by inconsistency, stiffness and a one-track style. He projects as an underwhelming starter early but can grow to a Pro Bowl level. 


Born April 3rd, 2001 in Athens, Greece, George Matthew Karlaftis moved to West Lafayette, Indiana in eighth grade. To that point, he had not played any significant amount of organized football. An outstanding and accomplished all-around athlete at West Lafayette high school, Karlaftis was the back-to-back state champion in shot put as a junior and senior. What’s more, he was named 2018 IndyStar Mr. Football Defensive Lineman of the Year, Associated Press All-State Class 3A, 2018 Top 50 All-Indiana by Indiana Football Coaches Association and Indiana Class 3A Player of the Year in his career. In 2018, West Lafayette went 15-0 and won the Indiana Class 3A state championship. In 2019, Karlaftis was selected for the US Army All-American Bowl; while there, he received national Defensive Player of the Year honors. The native Greek finished his senior season with 106 tackles, 56 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks; he recorded 332 tackles, 84 tackles for loss and 41 sacks in his career. A highly-touted recruit, 247Sports Composite Rankings awarded Karlaftis a four-star rating. The same outlet named him the 59th-ranked recruit in the country, the fourth-best strong-side defensive end in his class and the top player from Indiana that year. 247Sports recruiting went a step further. The service gave Karlaftis a five-star rating while naming him the 27th recruit in the nation, the 3rd-best strong-side defensive end that year and the best player from Indiana in his class. In January of 2019, the West Lafayette product enrolled early at Purdue and participated in spring practices. His early exposure paid off; he started all 12 games that year. As a true freshman, Karlaftis was third on the team with 54 tackles, first on the team with 17 tackles for loss and tied for the team lead with 7.5 sacks. He also broke up two passes, made one interception, recovered two fumbles and forced a fumble. The outstanding first-year player was awarded Second-Team All-Big Ten honors and was named a First-Team Associated Press Freshman All-American. In 2020, Karlaftis started three games before missing significant time with an injury and COVID-19. That said, he led Purdue with two sacks and had four tackles. He was awarded Academic All-Big Ten and Second-Team All-Big Ten in the shortened season. Karlaftis was a standout in 2021, keeping his name firmly in the round-one conversation. He majors in Selling and Sales Management. 


Round 1

Floor/Ceiling: Low-Level Starter / Pro Bowler

Scheme Fit: 4-3 Defensive End

Hot Take Tuesday: George Karlaftis is EDGE1


"He acts like an 80-year-old man. He stretches for 30 minutes before bed at exactly 9 or 9:30, depending on how early he has to wake up. He reads 10 pages of the Bible before bed, wakes up at this [exact] time, makes his morning smoothie. He's so regimented. He makes sure he gets his vegetables and carbs, and only eats deer and bison and elk. He grew up a lot." -- Kaia Harris (girlfriend) on George Karlaftis