The biggest reason the Kansas City Chiefs didn’t reach the Super Bowl last season was their lack of a pass rush in the playoffs.

Kansas City lost to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game after sacking quarterback Joe Burrow just one time.

Burrow was sacked 18 times in the Bengals’ other three playoff games.

That’s obviously not a recipe for success against a team with a bad offensive line like the Bengals had last season.

The lack of an effective pass rush against Cincinnati likely led to the Chiefs’ decision to draft Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis in the first round (No. 30 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Kansas City Chiefs
Apr 28, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis after being selected as the thirtieth overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs during the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Chiefs signed free agent edge rusher Carlos Dunlap late last month to help improve the pass rush, but the plan is for Karlaftis to be Kansas City’s long-term answer at the position.

Of course, we never know how young edge rushers will develop. So even though Karlaftis was a first-round pick, there’s no guarantee that he’ll be a dominant pass rusher in the NFL.

Fortunately for the Chiefs, they received a positive sign this week that Karlaftis is going to live up to the first-round hype.

Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said this past week that Karlaftis is like a sponge and constantly asks teammates and coaches questions.

That’s exactly what you want to hear about your first-round pick if you’re a Chiefs fan.

A big part of being successful in the NFL is putting in the work away from the field. Karlaftis is obviously doing that, which tells me he has a massive desire to be great.

We’ll see if it pays off, but it’s certainly encouraging to hear an early report from training camp that Karlaftis is locked in and eager to learn.

Featured image via Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports