George Karlaftis, EDGE, Purdue
Losing Chandler Jones hurts, and Arizona must attempt to replace at least some of his production. This is made even more important due to their dearth of talent at cornerback. The Arizona Cardinals must try to defend the pass at the front end because of their weakness at the back end of their defense.
I’ve seen mocks that have Karlaftis going as high as the top ten, and some have him going in the last quarter of the first round. If Arizona likes him enough, they may even try to move up and get him. In any event, let’s take a look at George Karlaftis the prospect.
Karlaftis is a big kid (6’4” 275) from Greece who didn’t start playing competitive football until he was in the eighth grade. He was a four-star prospect and was flooded with scholarship offers from most of the major programs, including Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and USC. He chose to go to Purdue because his family lived in West Lafayette, Indiana, which is where the Purdue campus is located.
His best statistical season was his freshman year, 2019 when he put up 7.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss. Between injuries and Covid, Karlaftis only played in two games in 2020 and tallied a pair of sacks. He struggled a bit last year as teams were more focused on stopping him, only recording 4.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss.
But George Karlaftis can get after the quarterback, and his trademark is his patented bull rush. His combination of upper body strength, long arms, and superior leg drive make it difficult for tackles to consistently keep him away from the quarterback. Karlaftis even added a nice counter move where he fakes to the outside and dips back in, catching the offensive tackle off-balance to create a straight-line path to the ball.
His size and strength would offer him versatility at the next level as Karlaftis could shift inside and play effectively there. If he’s still on the board when the Arizona Cardinals are on the clock at 23, they’d probably be more than happy to take him.