It’s clear the Kansas City Chiefs see George Karlaftis as a key piece for both the present and the future, or else they wouldn’t have drafted him with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Karlaftis’ 2022 role became slightly murky when the Chiefs added veteran pass rusher Carlos Dunlap a couple of weeks ago. Dunlap is expected to bump Karlaftis to the third option in the Chiefs’ pass rush and start opposite Pro Bowler Frank Clark.

But that’s not guaranteed. And even if Dunlap does win the job, Karlaftis is still going to get his opportunities to showcase his skills.

And based off what we saw in preseason Week 1 against the Chicago Bears, all Karlaftis needs is an opportunity.

Karlaftis was on fire against the Bears. Granted, the Bears offensive line is one of the NFL’s worst and is dealing with a lot of injuries to important players. But, at the same time, you want your best players to dominate against the bad ones. It’s common sense.

The former Boilermaker has had a solid camp and now his Week 1 performance has some media, primarily The Athletic‘s Arif Hasan in this case, predicting big things for Karlaftis in 2022.

“Karlaftis “dazzled” in the Chiefs’ preseason opener, according to [The Athletic’s Nate] Taylor. In just 14 snaps, Karlafis generated four pressures, per PFF. That matches his progression in camp, and he may even have the ability to drop back in coverage on a somewhat regular basis. Given how much Karlaftis has impressed the Chiefs’ coaches and beat writers, he might be a sneaky value for Defensive Rookie of the Year odds.”

Karlaftis has all the tools to be successful in the NFL and he has the drive, as well. Actually, he has more than just “drive”. Andy Reid said back in May the Chiefs had to rein Karlaftis in because he was going “100 miles per hour” during OTAs.

“Relentless,” is how Karlaftis described his play style earlier in the year. “I get after the quarterback. I stop the run. I feel like I’m a three‐down player, I’m an all‐around player that can do anything and everything that’s asked of him, so I think I bring that to the table. I feel like I’m very, very consistent. I feel like my best football is ahead of me.”

If Karlaftis develops into a three-down player in 2022, then yea, go ahead and start placing those future bets on him being the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports