The Chiefs finish the preseason at 2-1 with a win over Green Bay, but who is the MVP of the exhibition games?
The Kansas City Chiefs wrapped up the 2022 preseason on Thursday with a victory over the Green Bay Packers. We will take a look at what player brought the most to the table for the Chiefs during their preseason run.
After coming off back-to-back victories in the preseason, we got a rather detailed look at how this roster is shaping up heading into the regular season opener on September 11th against the Arizona Cardinals.
There were plenty of highs as well as lows for the franchise. We were treated to extended play from star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, views into how the running back and wide receiver rooms might shake up, and also a gaze into the future on the defensive side of the ball; an emphasis that the Chiefs heavily prioritized in the offseason.
Speaking of the defensive side of the ball; this is where we will be discussing the MVP of the 2022 Chiefs preseason. The player who we are selecting with this ‘dubious’ honor is none other than first-round draft choice George Karlaftis.
If you have been following the rise of the defensive end the Chiefs selected with the 30th pick in this year’s draft, then you are well aware of just how spectacular the Greece-born rookie has been performing already in his first taste of NFL action.
Thursday’s contest against the Green Bay Packers was the first game of the preseason in which Karlaftis did not record a sack; although this was due to only making a cameo appearance, after already solidifying his status for the regular season as a player that will be surely receiving a huge bulk of snaps in pass rushing situations.
There was a ton of negative chatter when Karlaftis declared for the draft after his junior season at Purdue. He had only started playing football at the age of 14, which many scouts and analysts deemed as a “lack of experience.” His statistics also never lived up to his stellar freshman season, although he only played in two games as a sophomore due to testing positive for COVID-19, and a senior season in which he was constantly double-teamed.
The 21-year-old defensive end provided a somewhat pedestrian performance at the 2022 combine, and despite having nearly 30 tackles for loss in college, there had been questions on how Karlaftis would be able to adjust to the pace of the NFL game and stop the run. Some of these issues played a key role in the huge drop down the draft for Karlaftis.
With only a few preseason games under his belt, we still have not truly seen how Karlaftis can adapt to the speed of the running game; however, we have been treated to an ability to get to the quarterback at will while using sneaky athleticism and strong hands to snuff out the threat posed by opposing offensive lineman.
His five pressures also show that he will be a force sooner than later, and will look to form a formidable one-two pass rushing combo with veterans Frank Clark and Chris Jones on the defensive line (even if veteran Carlos Dunlap is on the roster come Week One).
Speaking of Frank Clark; the three-time Pro Bowl defensive end has been bestowing nothing but high praise on his young understudy by declaring repeatedly how hard the rookie has been working throughout the offseason.
The ability to attack his man and get to the quarterback has to have Chiefs Kingdom salivating at the thought of unleashing the “Greek Freak” or “Furious George” in a multitude of ways, and after selecting highly rated cornerback Trent Mcduffie also at a later-than-expected draft position, it seems that the “inexperienced” Karlaftis may not only be the MVP of the preseason; but the best of the 2022 Chiefs draft class.