Chiefs 22-Year-Old Named to NFL Network’s 2023 ‘All-Breakout Team’

George Karlaftis

Getty Kansas City Chiefs defensive end George Karlaftis III (#56) celebrates a sack in 2022.

It was a strong rookie campaign for Kansas City Chiefs first-round pass rusher George Karlaftis III in 2022. Not only did his team win the Super Bowl, but the key prospect also contributed seven sacks and nine tackles for a loss in the regular and postseason combined.

Despite that, NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks believes Karlaftis is just scratching the surface heading into year two, naming the Purdue product to his 2023 “All-Breakout Team” on June 2.

“It is not a coincidence that the Chiefs moved on from Frank Clark after Karlaftis’ strong rookie season,” Brooks explained. “The high-motor edge defender tallied six regular-season sacks and added another in the AFC Championship game while honing his craft as a first-year player.”

Concluding: “As Karlaftis settles into his role as the designated pass rusher beside All-Pro DT Chris Jones, we could see his sack production surge with regular one-on-one opportunities on the edge.”

Buffalo Bills pass rusher Gregory Rousseau joined Karlaftis as the other edge rusher on Brooks’ roster of predicted breakouts.

Analyst Details What It Will Take for Chiefs’ George Karlaftis to Make a ‘Second-Year Jump’

On May 27, Mark Van Sickle of Sports Illustrated’s Arrowhead Report broke down what it will likely take for 22-year-old starter to make the sort of leap in production that Brooks is describing.

“In college, Karlaftis was the victim of double (and sometimes triple) team coverage as he tried to get after quarterbacks in the Big 10,” Van Sickle preluded. “That led to only 4.5 sacks in his final season at Purdue” — and a draft day slide that benefited Kansas City.

The KC writer continued: “The Chiefs typically have a good rotation of players they like to work through on the defensive line, but Karlaftis was a major player in his rookie season. For Karlaftis to make that second-year jump, he will need to continue to grow within the groundwork that was laid in his first year in the league.”

“From the outside looking in, and from comments Karlaftis made throughout this past season, veteran players like Clark, Chris Jones and Carlos Dunlap all had a big influence on his growth and improvement as a player throughout his rookie year,” Van Sickle pointed out. “With Clark and Dunlap out of the picture (at least for now), Karlaftis is now one of the veterans in the room.”

All of this led Van Sickle to come to the following conclusion:

“Seeing a higher percentage of snaps per game and having a full year of competition under his belt should be a good start for Karlaftis and his chances to increase his production numbers in year two. He managed to have a pretty good start to his career, including winning a Super Bowl championship, but he seems like the type of player that won’t be satisfied with a good start to his career and should continue to be hungry heading into year two. That’s what will give Karlaftis an edge and continue to push him to make that second-year jump.”

Chiefs’ George Karlaftis Still Has Room to Grow Analytically

In the regular and postseason combined, Karlaftis finished third for Chiefs D-linemen in terms of pass-rush win-rate according to Pro Football Focus. That’s terrific for a rookie, but it doesn’t mean his 12.5% win-rate cannot be improved upon in year two.

Jones held a win-rate of 20.2%, for example, and even Clark finished at 13.3% despite the criticism he’s sometimes gotten for being overpaid. Still, Karlaftis bested fellow D-ends like Mike Danna and Carlos Dunlap as a rookie, among others.

His “PRP” — a PFF formula that combines sacks, hits and hurries relative to how many times they rush the passer — was a 5.7, which ranked fourth for Chiefs trench defenders last year behind Jones, Danna and Clark.

Based on these numbers, it’s fair to say that Karlaftis still has room to grow in 2023, and Brooks is among the experts that believes he will.

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