It’s the first round of the 2022 NFL draft, and it proves to be a wild night as Washington State quarterback Jeremiah Wilson is taken in one of the most shocking moves in recent history. For those paying attention, this might provide some hints about how future drafts will go if franchises can’t gauge what they’re doing well by now.
The “espn nfl draft 2022” is an upcoming NFL draft that will take place in 2022. It will be the first time that it has taken place outside of April, and it will be held on Thursday night.
GEORGE KARLAFTIS HAD NEVER HEARD OF FOOTBALL BEFORE 2014.
Swimming, soccer, tennis, basketball, track and field, judo, and water polo were among the sports Karlaftis excelled in as a young kid while growing up in Athens, Greece. Karlaftis is a versatile character that may be used in a variety of situations. He has a unique combination of abilities, including stature, speed, confidence, and determination, that enable him to thrive in any sport. Karlaftis, on the other hand, eventually shifted away from all of those sports and into one that he had never heard of before.
“[Football] was seen as really harmful and brutal,” he recounted. “A little bit of scare tactics to keep us from playing.”
Karlaftis’ father, Matt, a successful Greek athlete who participated in track and field at the University of Miami, wished Karlaftis and his two brothers would never play football. Matt’s lone experience with the sport resulted in a serious head injury that necessitated surgery.
“I was worried because I never really wanted to play growing up,” Karlaftis said. “And [in Greece], it’s not really a problem.”
George’s life and sporting perspective were irrevocably impacted after Matt died on June 4, 2014. He relocated to West Lafayette, Indiana, with his mother and siblings to be closer to his mother’s relatives. He had to cope with the loss of his father while starting school in a new language and finding new friends. His physical ability became a means for him to blend in. Karlaftis started playing a very American sport, and came to enjoy football, as he evolved into a top defensive lineman at Purdue, after some early hesitancy.
He’s now on the verge of joining the NFL. Karlaftis’ name will most likely be called on the opening night of the draft, which starts on April 28 in Las Vegas. In his most recent mock draft, Mel Kiper Jr. has the DE going at No. 30.
“It’s c’est la vie, right? To reflect on how things have gone. That’s life, I suppose “Karlaftis said. “Everything that’s occurred in my life and the lives of a lot of other people has been a lot. From the time I was 12, 13 years old to now, there have been tremendous changes in my life and the lives of a lot of other people. I had to basically overnight mature into a man.”
George Karlaftis is expected to be taken first overall in the NFL Draft. Darron Cummings/Flickr
KARLAFTIS MADE HIS HOME IN WEST LAFAYETTE, INDIA, FOR HIS HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE YEARS, BUT HIS ROOTS ARE IN GREECE. He misses his family, the cuisine, the culture, and, of course, the weather from his hometown.
He described the summers as “the finest ever.” “It’s a completely different atmosphere than anyplace else on the planet.”
Karlaftis, his parents, brothers Yanni and Niko, and sister Annie all resided in Athens. George enjoyed a regular Grecian childhood, from school to sports, thanks to his mother, Amy, who spoke English to the kids at home.
“They wanted us to be active and do a variety of things,” George recounted. “They wanted us to discover what we loved and pursue it at the best level we could.”
Because of their parents, George and his brothers had a natural affinity for athletics.
Their father had grown up in Greece as a gifted all-around athlete who strolled onto the track team at Miami and competed in the javelin. Amy participated in basketball and other sports throughout high school, but after fracturing her nose playing softball, she decided not to continue her athletic career in college. She went to Purdue University, where she met Matt, a doctorate student, while playing volleyball at the student rec facility as a freshman in 1994.
Amy flew to Greece with two bags to see Matt four years later and never returned. Matt worked as a civil engineering professor at the National Technical University of Athens, where they began their family. Matt has published multiple books, edited research journals, and received several accolades, including a Fulbright fellowship.
Amy said, “He became an expert in his profession.” “For the  Olympics in China, he was in control of all bus transportation. He devised algorithms for when the buses should arrive in order to transport the athletes to their sites. He was usually regarded of as a stupid athlete when he was younger, but he was clearly a clever guy. As a result, he has always strived to teach in his children the values of becoming excellent sportsmen as well as good students.”
Amy spent a lot of her time driving the Karlaftis kids to activities since they were natural athletes. Yanni, two years George’s junior, won the world championship in judo for his age group (11). After trying out a variety of sports, George settled on water polo, where he played goalie.
“I felt like I was carrying the whole squad on my shoulders,” George remembered. “You are the conduit for everything. I’m the one who will rescue the squad when things are coming at me. In that capacity, I felt completely at ease.”
George was selected to play for Greece’s under-16 national team. He might still be playing goalkeeper for Greece, which is presently rated first in the world, if things had gone differently.
Matt’s job required him to travel often. He was supposed to make a keynote at a civil engineering symposium on the Greek island of Kos in early June 2014, but he never showed up. At the age of 44, he was discovered dead in his hotel room, having died of a heart attack.
Amy recognized she wouldn’t be able to remain in Greece with four small children. Her parents, four siblings, and their respective families had all returned to Indiana.
“Within a day, I knew,” she added. “I made up my mind.”
George Karlaftis was born and raised in Greece, but he never played football until he went to the United States. Amy Karlaftis is a writer who lives in New York City.
Shane Fry was teaching eighth grade physical education in West Lafayette in September 2014 when a Greek giant, standing well over 6 feet tall, appeared in the middle of class. Following his father’s death, George remained in Europe to play water polo and came in America after the school year had begun.
George, who was hesitant at first, had to be persuaded to play whiffle ball in Fry’s class.
“They persuaded him to bat, and he got up there with one arm holding the ball bat, looking like a caveman,” Fry recalled. “I threw it to him, and he slammed it where no one else could, like a one-arm Mark McGwire home run. I believe he began running with the bat, unsure of where to go or what it meant.”
West Lafayette provided fresh opportunities and difficulties. Despite the fact that George learned English from his mother, he never utilized it at school.
Over the years, George had visited his mother’s relatives and had several cousins, including R.J. Erb, who was the same age as George and became his “built-in best buddy.” Sports provided a means for him to adjust to his new environment.
“He wanted to be with his buddies and play a sport and fit in, try to blend in with a new nation and a new way of life,” said Kaia Harris, George’s longterm girlfriend, whom he met during his freshman year at West Lafayette High School.
Initially, George participated in basketball and track, two well-known sports. When the chance to play football arose, he was first hesitant. Matt was persuaded to join the championship football team of the Miami Hurricanes. However, his helmet blew off during practice, causing a cracked skull that necessitated a 12-hour operation and left a visible scar.
Amy said, “They sliced him from one side of his ear to the other, pushed it forward, and placed plates in.” “His skull was smashed,” says the narrator.
George was affected by Matt’s experience since he knew his father’s family, particularly his grandpa and namesake, would be against the concept.
He remarked, “I had a lot of chats with coaches and relatives.” “The regulations, the helmets, and the equipment had all altered drastically. I believed I’d be quite good at it since my buddies were doing it. ‘Yeah, I’ll give it a go,’ I simply said.”
George barely played two weeks of eighth-grade football, but he was hooked on the sport and approached Fry, West Lafayette High School’s head coach, about joining the varsity team as a freshman. Fry was certain that George, who was already 6 feet 4 inches tall and weighed 219 pounds, could manage the physical demands. George, on the other hand, understood very nothing about the game and would have to learn what each position meant and how to get into a stance.
Fry used George as a straight-toe kicker at initially. On eBay, George discovered a size-14.5 steel boot, which he wore in games that autumn as West Lafayette won the state title.
“He’d become ‘The Waterboy,’” Fry predicted. “He’d kick it and sprint down the field like a lunatic, oblivious to his own body.”
George attended a football camp at Indiana University the next summer. He had the quickest 40-yard sprint of any camper at 235 pounds. Due to an injury, he was unable to participate in one-on-one exercises, but Indiana coach Kevin Wilson contacted George and informed him that the Hoosiers were interested.
“‘OK, cool,’ I thought. I had no idea what it meant at the time “George remembered something.
Weeks later, George attended another IU camp and was offered a scholarship, something he didn’t fully comprehend at the time. He had fallen in love with football by the time sophomore year began. George, now 6-5 and 240 pounds, had more action that season, mostly as a pass rusher in a run-heavy league. He had improved versus the run by the playoffs, identifying misdirection and play-action.
The next summer, he received more offers, notably from Notre Dame and Alabama. With a flurry of sacks to start his junior season, George rocketed up national recruiting boards.
“It was clear when Notre Dame offered him that he had no concept what Notre Dame was or signified,” Fry said. “IU is a college football team, and Notre Dame is a college football team, according to him. What’s the difference between the two?”
Amy Karlaftis comes from a family of Purdue alumni. Amy Karlaftis is a writer who lives in New York City.
George was finally ranked as Indiana’s best prospect and the No. 79 recruit in the 2019 class by ESPN. But, since he was new to football and the recruiting environment, he used a different strategy to attracting attention.
Amy praised George for doing extensive homework into the recruitment process — “He’s got so much of his father in him,” she said — and making sure he attended the appropriate camps and combines.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm stated, “He was simply new to the entire process and how things worked, and that was wonderful.” “Fortunately, we got in early and offered him, and the more you got to know him, the more you realized he had a rare combination of brilliance, humility, politeness, and a willingness and want to learn and listen. That’s something you don’t get with high-profile men.”
George could have gone to any college and played football, but he chose Purdue for a variety of reasons. He lived approximately a mile from campus, and from West Lafayette High, he could see Ross-Ade Stadium. George and his friends would sneak onto Purdue’s practice field late at night.
Amy’s family is full of Purdue grads, and their rental property company is well-known in the community. Brohm, who joined the company in December 2016, rapidly became acquainted with George’s family. Amy is close to his wife, Jennifer, and their kid, Brady, is the same age as George’s sister, Annie, and has become friends with her.
George also realized that by going to Purdue, he would be able to keep an eye on his family.
When a father dies, his oldest son takes over as head of home, according to Greek law. So, when George was only two months away from turning thirteen, he realized his new reality and brought that responsibility to the United States.
“Overnight, I had to become a man and the guardian of my home,” he said. “That entails a great deal of responsibility, but you must also be mature enough to manage it.”
Despite the fact that Amy has remarried, George continues to mock his stepfather about his job as head of home.
“He’s like, ‘I’m still the patriarch of my family,’” Amy explains. “It’s sort of odd, but George really thinks that, which is one of the reasons he wanted to remain and attend Purdue in the first place, just in case. Georgie, the little lad, grew up in a flash. When you think about it, it’s almost as if he was robbed of parts of his youth, but it came back when he was allowed to play and participate in sports.”
He committed to Purdue in October 2017.
“He has his pillars: God is number one, and his family is number two,” Harris added. “I knew he would never abandon his family. He was certain he’d do it “Purdue University.”
Karlaftis made a vision board titled “American Dream” in eighth grade. Amy Karlaftis is a writer who lives in New York City.
GEORGE HAS NEVER HAD PROBLEMS FINDING INSPIRATION. He made a “American Dream” vision board in eighth grade, which included insignia for the NFL and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Quotes adorned his high school bedroom wall, as well as a whiteboard in his Purdue dorm room. Christian Burns, a high school friend murdered in a vehicle accident, used to tell him, “One more” and “Rise, rise, rise again.” “They can’t capture what they can’t see,” said another quotation. “You were born to be exceptional,” George says, and “Prove them wrong.”
“That was his slogan,” Harris said. “Everyone teased him since he had never played football before, instead opting for water polo. Because of how difficult it is to get into the NFL, they were like, ‘Oh no, that’s not going to happen.’”
In January 2019, George graduated from high school early and enrolled at Purdue University. Teammates were telling him he may make the NFL by the fourth or fifth spring practice. George requested Purdue’s defensive line coach, Kevin Wolthausen, to define what he needed to become a first-round draft choice.
George started every game that season, leading Purdue in sacks (7.5) and tackles for loss (4.5). (17.5). He was a first-team freshman All-American and second-team All-Big Ten selection. He was on his way out the door.
In 2015, Mark Hagen was the defensive line coach for Indiana, and he remembers a 14-year-old Greek camper who astonished the coaches with his speed and size. Hagen saw a different version of George when he was appointed as the defensive line coach at Purdue in January 2021.
Hagen added, “Everything was committed to realizing his maximum potential.”
Every morning that spring, the messages arrived. George inquired about a meeting with Hagen. They looked at all of his practice repetitions as well as footage from his freshman and sophomore years. George received assignments from Hagen, including analyses of the best pass rushers in the 2021 NFL draft, including Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Miami’s Jaelan Phillips.
George had a different approach to diet and training room time to avoid injuries than any other player Hagen has ever coached. He would meet with Purdue strength coach Domenic Reno after team exercises to conduct hand work.
“In meetings, he’s constantly taking notes, always in study mode, always in that mindset of trying to improve,” Hagen added. “When you have men like that, who have an incredible work ethic, you’re going to make time to assist them achieve their goals. Every minute appeared to be meticulously planned for him.”
Outside of football, George used the same attitude. George was a “goofy” man in high school, according to Harris, who pounded pints of ice cream and lived on steak and potatoes. Harris saw a different person when she went from the Air Force to Purdue, where she is a track thrower.
“He has the demeanor of an 80-year-old guy,” Harris observed. “He stretches for 30 minutes before bed, starting at 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., depending on how early he has to get up. Before going to bed, he reads ten pages of the Bible, gets up at this [precise] hour, and prepares his morning smoothie. He follows a strict schedule. He eats only deer, bison, and elk, and makes sure he gets his veggies and carbohydrates. He had a lot of maturation.”
Brohm would see George “at all hours” since his family’s house is so near to Purdue’s football facility. After the coronavirus epidemic occurred and the crew couldn’t be together, George took Brohm’s laptop for months to watch movies.
Brohm, a former NFL and XFL quarterback who comes from a football background, credits George’s attitude to his brief involvement with the sport.
“There’s not a lot of burnout,” Brohm said, “because he didn’t grow up needing to play football and living and breathing it.” “He was an energetic, athletic young guy who participated in a variety of activities as a child. As a result, he’s excited, and he’s ready to show the world what he’s capable of. I’m sure there are plenty of other excellent first-round selections, but he is a guaranteed 10-plus-year veteran All-Pro to me, because that’s the sort of player he is.”
“That’s who I am, that’s what I believe in,” George believes he would approach any sport in this manner. But he understands that his football career is only getting started.
He remarked, “My best football is ahead of me.” “That is something I know without a doubt. I feel I should be the first [overall] choice in my heart of hearts. It’s OK if the teams don’t feel that way, or if Twitter or Instagram or ESPN don’t feel that way. That is, nonetheless, how I feel.”
Despite being restricted to three games in 2020 due to injury and the pandemic, George started all 12 regular-season games last autumn, leading Purdue in tackles for loss (11.5), forced fumbles (3), sacks (5), and quarterback hurries (8). He was named to the Big Ten first team and led Purdue to its most victories (9) since 2003.
George declared in December that he will forego his final season to join the draft. Brohm believes George will be an exceptional NFL power rusher, most likely at strong-side end, with quickness and moves to get to the quarterback.
Brohm remarked, “He’s a player that can play all three downs.”
George can move well as a large man, according to Hagen, and can truly shine as a pass rusher. George has relished being able to demonstrate that he is more than simply a large, burly man who isn’t an athlete during the selection process. After all, in the NFL combine, he had a 38-inch vertical leap and a broad jump of nearly 10 feet.
“Whoever chooses him gets a versatile player who can play on the edge, but also, if you’re trying to get your best pass rushers on the field, move him inside at times and create some mismatches on some of those guards and centers who aren’t quite as athletic as those outside tackles,” Hagen said.
Because of what had happened to Matt, George knew his grandpa in Greece would be concerned when he initially explored football. After realizing that George may attend college on an athletic scholarship, his grandpa warmed around to the idea. George and his uncle have seen Purdue highlights and George hopes they will be able to attend one of his NFL games.
The Karlaftisses have become a football family in America. Yanni is a second-year Purdue linebacker and a former ESPN 300 prospect, while Niko, 14, is a 14-year-old linebacker.
When George was asked what his father thought of him today, he remembered Matt telling tales of guys who excelled in both sports and academics, like he did. Matt was the sort to provide suggestions but ultimately let George make his own choices, which he supported.
“Even though I’m playing football, he’d be immensely proud of me,” George added. “I earned my bachelor’s degree in three years and now work as a professional athlete. That would be a dream come true for him.”
The “2022 draft date” is the date when the 2022 NFL Draft will take place.
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