The Kansas City Chiefs stayed put at the 30th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, choosing Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis with the selection.
Karlaftis started playing football in eighth grade when he moved to West Lafayette, Indiana from Athens, Greece. He turned himself into a first-round talent in the NFL after registering 11.5 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles during his time at Purdue, per NFL Media.
Karlaftis is yet another Greek player that is making a name for himself on the professional sports stage in the United States. Another Greek player that has risen to stardom in the United States is Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, known as the “Greek Freak,” who was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in back-to-back years from 2019 to 2020.
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Because both Antetokounmpo and Karlaftis are from the same country, Chiefs head coach Andy took it upon himself to nickname Karlaftis after the NBA’s reigning MVP.
“For sure we didn’t have the Greek Freak 2 in,” Reid said during his press conference after Day 1 of the NFL Draft when asked if either of Kansas City’s first-round picks visited with the Chiefs during the pre-draft process. “You’re gonna love [Karlaftis]. He is high octane this guy… but we did him over Zoom. And McDuffie, I’m short on memory there.”
Chiefs Utilize Plethora of Picks to Trade Up on Day 1
Because Kansas City had a league-high 12 draft picks heading in the draft, two of which were first-round picks, the belief was that the Chiefs might package some of their picks to move up in the first round if the right player began slipping down the board. That’s exactly what happened, which gave Kansas City the opportunity to be aggressive in the first round.
The Chiefs traded the No. 29, 94, and 121 picks to the New England Patriots in exchange for the 21st overall pick, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. With the 21st pick, Kansas City selected Washington cornerback Trent McDuffie.
McDuffie was ranked as the 14-best prospect in NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah’s updated top 150 prospect rankings, which were released on April 25. So, Kansas City moved up to get a starting cornerback that can play alongside L’Jarius Sneed in the secondary.
“[McDuffie’s] an elite competitor with a route-hugging mentality fueled by body control, foot agility, aggression and burst. He’s a pesky press-man defender with the tools to excel in zone. He’s willing to fly downhill and hit anybody near the football,” NFL Media’s Lance Zierlein wrote about McDuffie leading up to the draft.
“He keeps his eyes on the prize and has an itchy, twitchy trigger to close throwing windows and make plays on the ball. He lacks lockdown traits but has lockdown talent and his competitive energy is contagious. He can play outside or from the slot and carries a very high floor with the potential to become one of the league’s top corners at some point during his first contract.”
Karlaftis Earns High Marks Ahead of Draft
Zierlein also did a write-up of Karlaftis, giving the Purdue product strong praise for his efforts during his collegiate career.
“Edge defender with good power and a relentless motor to keep the heat on offensive counterparts throughout the game. Karlaftis’ best production came in 2019, as he missed half of Purdue’s 2020 season and saw teams focus more energy toward stopping him in 2021,” Zierlein wrote.
“He’s a lift-and-leverage run defender at the point of attack but fits into a ‘team defender’ column more than ‘premium run-stopper’ category. He’s a force-based rusher with anchor-busting power and the ability to get to his counters when the rush begins to stall. With just two full seasons under his belt, there will be more development headed Karlaftis’ way. He’s a future starter as a strong-side defender in an even or odd front.”