Outside quarterback, most of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ position groups could use an infusion of talent next year. Although the Jags don’t have the worst overall record in the NFL, they will most likely earn a high draft pick, which will give them a chance to select one of the top collegiate prospects next year. One mock draft predicts their choice will be Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis.
The Pro Football Network staff recently put together a mock draft and project the Jags will take Karlaftis at number four. With Kayvon Thibodeaux going to the Detroit Lions at number one, Jacksonville takes the second-best pass rusher of the draft. Even though he’s far from a finished product, PFN believes he’s got plenty of upside.
"The run on edge defenders not named Kayvon starts here as George Karlaftis heads south to Jacksonville. The Purdue standout is still evolving his game. Nonetheless, he presents a challenge as offensive tackles should struggle to match his blend of speed and power. Karlaftis is a massive man with a football intelligence that rivals anyone else in the class."
Karlaftis was named a semifinalist for the 2021 Chuck Bednarik Award and is moving up draft boards. In fact, CBS Sports foresees that the Lions will take him with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft in a recent mock. The Greece native has logged 25 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles this season. Draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Media compares Karlaftis to Ryan Kerrigan, with a “natural feel as a rusher, excellent hands, and effort“.
The Jaguars may have bigger needs in the 2021 NFL Draft.
You can never have enough good players and Karlaftis would bolster the Jaguars’ front seven. He wouldn’t have the pressure of producing right away, as the team has AFC Player of the Week Josh Allen. Also, second-year edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson hasn’t developed into the player Jacksonville expected when they drafted him 20th overall in 2020, so the Jags could start planning for the future.
On the other hand, there are other position groups the Jaguars need to address before the defensive front. Their cornerback group could use a boost, and they could be in a position to draft Derek Stingley Jr. Jacksonville could also add an offensive lineman, depending on how they feel about Walker Little and if they let left tackle Cam Robinson walk away in free agency. Evan Neal and Ikem Ekwonu would be two potential options.
Karlaftis would be a solid option in 2022, especially if he’s the best player available when the Jaguars are on the clock. They already have a quarterback in place after taking Trevor Lawrence first overall this year, so they can afford to take different routes in the draft.