Ever since the Cleveland Browns 2021 season ended, speculation about their first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft has kicked into high gear.
Most prognosticators, including yours truly, believe that the team will draft a receiver with the 13th pick.
After all, with the rumors of Jarvis Landry’s possible departure growing weekly, Cleveland must add a starter and depth to the position.
Cleveland can save $14.8M on the cap while just carrying a $1.5M dead money hit by releasing him. pic.twitter.com/famSONcolP
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) February 23, 2022
However, the Browns will need to reload at other spots as well.
In particular, if Jadeveon Clowney does not re-sign, the team will be in desperate need of an edge rusher.
That is a need too great to pass up according to one NFL writer.
Daniel Jeremiah’s Vision for the Browns
In his mock draft released on Tuesday, Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Media Analyst for NFL.com, selected Purdue University defensive end George Karlaftis.
Jeremiah likes Karlaftis as a potential replacement for Clowney.
Karlaftis is a 6’4” and 275-pound behemoth who is a terror for any opposing offense.
George Karlaftis leaves some big shoes to fill. What other key players must #Purdue replace when it kicks off spring practice on Monday?
— GoldandBlack.com (@GoldandBlackcom) February 22, 2022
He arrived on Purdue’s campus in 2019 after an outstanding prep career at West Lafayette High School in Indiana.
While playing at West Lafayette, Karlaftis accumulated 41 total sacks and played in the 2019 U.S. Army All-American Game.
Karlaftis played as a true freshman for the Boilermakers in 2019 and had 54 total tackles, 7.5 sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, one interception, and two passes broken up.
In 2020, he tested positive for Covid and only played three games during Purdue’s shortened six-game season.
During the three games he played that year, Karlaftis totaled four tackles and two sacks.
This past season, Karlaftis came back with a vengeance and had 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and two passes broken up.
After the 2021 season, he was named a Third-team All-American and First-team All-Big Ten.
Karlaftis was a Second-team All-Big Ten in 2019 and 2020.
Strengths and Weaknesses
NFL scouts note that Karlaftis has good speed for a man his size.
He has explosive hands and hips and has good extension against his man on initial contact.
Karlaftis primarily uses a bull rush, and with his strength, can put opposing tackles on their heels.
George Karlaftis III sacked Jack Coan with the body of his own right tackle. I'm really at a loss for words here. pic.twitter.com/Hr0rHwn4K7
— Matt Alkire (@mattalkire) February 15, 2022
Scouts also like that Karlaftis has good flexibility for a person of his size and that flexibility allows for smooth redirection.
He’s also proven to have a non-stop motor that lasts throughout each game.
Pro personnel point out that, with only two full seasons of college experience, Karlaftis needs development in some areas.
In particular, he needs to work on his run stopping techniques.
Also, Karlaftis struggles against larger offensive tackles and needs to develop a repertoire of counter pass rush moves.
Lastly, Karlaftis has trouble moving laterally to slide down and make a tackle.
There is no doubt that Karlaftis has the ability to play as an NFL defensive end.
However, NFL.com has given him a 6.37 prospect grade which means they believe Karlaftis will be a starter within his first two years.
Whether the Browns can wait that long is another matter.