Leading up to the draft, we will profile players who have been linked to the Ravens. Today's subject is Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis.
He Plays With a Relentless Motor
At 6-foot-4, 265 pounds, Karlaftis is a powerful player who only plays at full speed. Turn on the tape of his games at Purdue and Karlaftis is giving the same effort regardless of situation and score. If he comes to the Ravens' 3-4 scheme, Karlaftis has the versatility to play as a defensive end or outside linebacker. Karlaftis is not just a pass rusher. His strength makes him difficult to move off the line of scrimmage and he should be an effective edge-setter who can help a team's run defense. The more physical the game, the better Karlaftis seems to play.
"Relentless," Karlaftis said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "That's how I approach life, how I approach the game, in terms of my technique, in terms of how I play, my motor, my effort. Everything about it is relentless."
Karlaftis Could Thrive Seeing Fewer Double-*T*eams in the NFL
Karlaftis believes he will be a high-volume sack artist in the NFL, despite having just 14 sacks in three seasons at Purdue. Ravens outside linebacker Odafe Oweh faced similar questions when he didn't have a sack during his final season at Penn State. Oweh responded with five sacks as a rookie for the Ravens last year and he was an immediate asset to the defense.
Karlaftis says he doesn't worry about stats. His concern is impacting the game and helping his team win. As the main man at Purdue, Karlaftis was often double-teamed. That won't happen as much in the NFL, where he'll be surrounded by much more talent.
"Watch the tape," Karlaftis said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I don't know what the official numbers are. I don't give a crap about the official numbers and that kind of stuff."
According to Pro Football Focus, Karlaftis was the best edge rusher in the country at consistently defeating blockers without the aid of stunts or blitzes.
Karlafatis Lived in Greece Until Age 13, Where Water Polo Was His Main Sport
Karlaftis' late father, Matt, suffered a serious head injury playing football and steered his son toward other sports. Born in Greece, Karlaftis was introduced to a variety of activities as a youngster, including tennis, swimming and soccer. He excelled at water polo and made the 16-and-under Greek national team as a 13-year-old goalie.
"Growing up, that's what I did," Karlaftis said. "That's what I was committed to. It's something I'm really, really proud of and I was damn good at it, too.
"(When) I was 10, 11, 12 years old, I had to hold a chair with my shoulders out of the water, my chest out of the water for 10 minutes in a row. That's what I attribute my strong legs to."
He Moved to the U.S. Following His Father's Sudden Death
Karlaftis' father passed away in 2014 following a heart attack, and his family moved from Greece to his mother's hometown of West Lafayette, Ind. to be around her support system. That's where Karlaftis started to play football as a freshman in high school. He blossomed quickly and started to take football seriously.
In high school he trained with former NFL defensive end Chike Okeafor, a former Purdue star who had moved back to Indiana following his playing days. Karlaftis became an all-state player and though he was recruited by other schools, he committed to Purdue, which was just two blocks from his family's house.
He'd 'Love to Be a Raven'
Karlaftis was guest on 105.7 The Fan earlier this month and said he would "love to be a Raven." He also expressed his willingness to be a three-down player who places importance on stopping the run, not just getting sacks.
"I wouldn't have played in the Big Ten if I didn't love playing the run," Karlaftis said. "In my eyes, you have to earn the right to pass rush. You do that by stopping the run."