Purdue pass rusher George Karlaftis aces pro day with 40 times, works out individually for Eagles

Purdue pass rusher George Karlaftis aced his 40 times at the Boilermakers' Pro Day and worked out individually for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Purdue star defensive end George Karlaftis aced his pro day workout, amounting to a final box checked for the pass rusher and first-round NFL Draft target.

George Karlaftis shows out at Purdue Pro Day

Karlaftis ran the 40-yard dash in 4.71 to 4.76 seconds, insisting that he run outside in frigid, 30-degree weather conditions in front of 30 NFL teams. He worked out privately for the Philadelphia Eagles following the workout and has an upcoming private meeting with the New York Jets next week, according to league sources not authorized to speak publicly.

Karlaftis had 18 formal meetings at the NFL Combine, including the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns, Jets, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, and Eagles, per a league source. He’s regarded as a strong candidate for multiple teams. This includes the Vikings, Jets, and Eagles, with a wide range of projections throughout the first round.

Karlaftis gets high marks from scouts for power, pass-rushing repertoire, athleticism, and character. The former Boilermaker had a 38-inch vertical leap at the NFL Scouting Combine and bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times with a 4.36 short shuttle.

Karlaftis was a first-team All-Big 10 selection and a third-team All-American. He had 5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, and a touchdown last season.

‘Tape speaks for itself’

“The tape speaks for itself,” Karlaftis said. “If they had an idea of what type of guy I am in terms of character, I think this kind of verifies that.”

A native of Athens, Greece, having graduated in three years, Karlaftis had 17.5 sacks in his senior year of high school at West Lafayette High School. In 2019, he was a second-team All-Big Ten Conference selection with 54 tackles, 17 for losses, 7.5 sacks, and 1 interception. He was voted second-team All-Conference again despite limited time due to injuries and COVID-19.

Karlaftis models his game after Khalil Mack and also studies T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, J.J. Watt, and Ryan Kerrigan, a fellow Purdue alum.

Karlaftis plays like a lion after a gazelle

“Relentless,” Karlaftis said in describing his style of play. “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. You’re trying to [get to] the quarterback every single time. You got to be relentless. You’re out there fighting for food basically. You’re like a lion trying to get after a gazelle.”

Kerrigan is a mentor to Karlaftis.

“He’s been great for me, a mentor for sure. Someone that I can go to freely and ask him questions about the game, about life, what the NFL’s all about, how to conduct my business,” Karlaftis said. “He’s been a great help and a good friend, too.”

Because Karlaftis participated in water polo, it built his strength, especially in his lower body.

“It gave me strong legs,” he said. “That’s something I would take away from it. I was practicing with grown men there, no exaggeration. I was playing against better competition, kind of like you do from going from high school to college. It taught me long hours and to grind for what you want.

“A lot of guys like to bench press. I’ve always been a lower body guy. That’s where your explosiveness comes from, from your hips. I’m never going to bench press someone. All your power comes from your legs.”

When asked what he would say to anyone who views him as more of a power player as opposed to an athletic edge rusher, Karlaftis replied: “Turn on the tape.”

Aaron Wilson is the NFL Insider for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL.


Every day, get free NFL updates sent straight to your inbox!