Last week, I highlighted two guys on opposite sides of a Big Ten matchup and discussed Spencer Rattler. Despite the raw talent Rattler possesses, he proved some of his flaws that I pinpointed to be apparent when he lost control of the game and failed to work through his progressions, leading to his benching. This week, here’s to hoping the three players that go through the wringer don’t have similarly poor performances.
Dylan’s Dimes will be a ten step breakdown of three of the biggest draft eligible players taking the field in some of the biggest matchups each week. I analyze background, on the field performance, off the field traits, opinions around the NCAA, all leading up to the dropping the dime on how they could fit with gang green.
Every year, athletes that transcend their position come out of the draft. The Georgia Bulldogs are the top ranked team in the country, and a big part of their success is obviously tied to their talent. Coming off the edge, the Bulldogs have one of the most fluid pass rushers in EDGE, Adam Anderson.
The NBA Champions this year had their own Greek freak in Giannis Antetokounmpo. In Indiana, Purdue has their own version of the Greek freak. Despite a bumpy college career at times, the freak athlete and second edge going through the breakdown this week is EDGE, George Karlaftis.
From high school, certain players emerge as stars. From high school star to college football national champion and being named an All-American, this player has had success at all levels. Despite LSU having a rough year and this player being out for the remainder of it, two years of Derek Stingley Jr.
-Weight: 230 lbs
-From: Rome, GA
-Weight: 275 lbs
-From: Athens, Greece
-Weight: 190 lbs
-From: Baton Rouge, LA
Adam Anderson’s story is one of adversity and strength prevailing. After his sister and step father passed away at a young age, Anderson stepped up to help raise his family. Anderson produced on the gridiron to take care of them off it. Anderson was the 2016 state defensive plater of the year. He was highly touted and ranked as one of the top edge rushers in the country. He took off from there, committing to Georgia, then LSU, then back to Georgia. He bided his time behind Azeez Ojulari and other talented players, rotating in and making the most of each reps.
Born in Greece, Yoros (renamed George) Karlaftis lived there until 2014 when unfortunately his father passed away, prompting a move to the United States. From there, Karlaftis found the game of football and excelled. He had 41 sacks in high school, was named to the U.S. Army All-American game in 2019 and was named defensive player of the year. In Track and Field, Karlaftis was a two-time state champion in shot put. Similarly to Anderson, Karlaftis dealt with the hand he was dealt and has excelled.
Stingley Jr. has always had football in his blood. His grandfather played in the NFL and his father played in the AFL. He has been an absolute star from the start, putting up 27 interceptions in his time at The Dunham School. He was the Louisiana Gatorade Football player of the year and ranked as the top player in his class. He then committed to LSU where he started as a freshman, earned all-American accolades and had 6 INTs right out of the gate.
2020: 9 games, 13 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 5.5 Sacks, 1 FF & 1 FR.
2021: 5 games, 19 tackles, 4.5 TFLs, 4.5 Sacks
2019: 12 games, 54 tackles, 17.0 TFLs, 7.5 Sacks, 1 FF & 2 FR.
2020 (Injured for Majority of Season): 2 games, 4 tackles, 2.0 TFLs & 2.0 Sacks.
2021: 5 games, 20 tackles, 3.0 TFLs, 1.5 Sacks & 2 FF.
2019: 15 games, 38 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 6 INTs, 15 PBUs & 1 FR.
2020: 7 games, 27 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 5 PBUs, 1 FF & 1 FR.
2021 (Will Miss Remainder of Season): 3 games, 8 tackles, 3.5 TFLs & 1 FF.
Adam Anderson is an incredibly fluid and effective pass rusher. He uses his size well and his light frame to burst into the gaps and make plays. Speaking of making plays, despite rotating into action behind top tier guys as I mentioned before, he still produced 5.5 sacks in his Junior year. He constantly demonstrates a high motor as he flies all over the field making plays even when it may seem out of reach. He chased down guys like Desmond Ridder who has exceptional mobility. Anderson’s athleticism and burst are constantly prevalent and will make him a force at the next level.
Karlaftis a well rounded prospect with a top tier football IQ. He moves men around systematically to not just make plays but open up the field for his teammates to make plays. He doesn’t always need the headlines, he is okay opening things up. Karlaftis, similarly to Anderson can also move all over the field. What’s unique with him is despite his frame, he moves all over the field like a safety. He’s a constant play maker, for example in 2019, he had a forced fumble, recovered two and snatched an interception against TCU. He is constantly involved in the plays and always tries to make an impact.
In high school, as I mentioned earlier Stingley had 27 picks, and in college that transition has been seamless. He’s a ballhawking corner that if the ball is in play, will most likely come down with it. He’s physical but he has superb control and technique to channel it and time routes nearly perfectly. He’s faced the best of the best and done a very good job, going against tight ends like Kyle Pitts and Heisman winners like Devonta Smith, frequently. He’s not going to win every matchup, but he may be the most proven commodity given how he’s faired against top receivers.
For Anderson, his biggest issue that I can point stems from lack of closing ability. More often than not, he finds his way in the backfield. Although he can tackle in open space and take care of guys with good mobility, when he has an opportunity for a sack he struggles to close and typically walks away with more pressures. This season he has closed more efficiently, but time will tell if he can continue to do this, especially at the next level.
For Karlaftis, he’s rebounded from his injury well, but he’s lacked the same productivity he had in his freshman year. He looks to be focusing more on disruption than closing and producing as many substantial big plays. He lacks a pop in his tackling and tends to shy away from laying bigger hits on players. He certainly has the power, but he needs refinement in order to develop that power into a bigger asset.
When it comes to pushing off his man and getting involved in the run game, Stingley tends to struggle. He tends to hang with his man so long that it’s hard for him to catch backup as a tackler. His range for tackling could stand to improve and in zone he could struggle at times if he fails to advance that.
7/10-The Focus of Improvement:
Anderson: Closing Ability
Stingley Jr.: Run Support
Adam Anderson reminds me of two guys from last year’s class, Odafe Oweh and former teammate Azeez Ojulari. His fluidity allows him to constantly make plays and his high motor will serve him well at the next level, similarly to as it has for Oweh. Anderson can start as a rotational pass rusher, but could easily develop into an every down weapon at the next level. Anderson has potential to be an impact player and he’s demonstrated that at every step of the way.
Karlaftis has been a leader for his teams, he’s a superb talent and can make plays for himself and others. He’s an ideal edge rusher for a lot of teams and can be an immediate impact guy like Maxx Crosby was for the Las Vegas Raiders in year one. He needs to land in the right scheme that caters to his skill set and allows him to demonstrate more productivity, but regardless, I foresee him becoming an impact player relatively fast.
There are no sure things in football, or sports for that matter. If I’m a betting man though, I foresee Stingley being a top tier number one corner at the next level. He’s hung with guys who have transitioned to the NFL and become top play makers, proving he can hang with the talent he will line up against. Stingley can be a top corner in this league and I foresee him bouncing back from his foot injury, having a decent combine performance and finding himself as a top pick in this year’s draft.
9/10-The Outside Opinion:
“He’s still college football’s most potent pass rusher.”- Mike Renner, Pro Football Focus
“So far this season, Karlaftis has been one of the best players in college football and has shown any doubter that he is a blue-chip talent and on the same level as Thibodeaux, if not better.”- Jack Borowsky, Sports Illustrated
“Stingley remains a force in the secondary. No opposing team wants to throw the ball in his direction and risk a potential interception. His speed and vertical jump make him the standout cornerback of this draft class.”- Lukas Weese, The Undefeated
Anderson could find himself thriving in the Saleh/Ulbrich defense. Anderson is fluid and can adapt quickly given different blocking schemes. He’s smart and will pick up the system quickly, and make an impact. The team could pair Anderson with Lawson off the edge and have a formidable pass rush duo moving forward, with two guys who can make plays and demonstrated superb athleticism on the regular.
Karlaftis fit isn’t as seamless as Anderson, but the Jets can’t pass up talent. Karlaftis is a talent on an off the field, he has a high football IQ and he’s a coaches dream. If the Jets can get Karlaftis, you do it and figure out fit after. With a talent like him, the team could bolster the defense immediately and that’s hard to pass up.
Aside from Linderbaum, Stingley is the only other player I have watched to this point that I will bang the drum for aggressively. Stingley is a top tier corner and would give the defense a bonafide star at corner for the first time since the Revis Island days. I would feel comfortable saying he has the highest floor in the class and is a very safe bet for success. Given the emergence of Bryce Hall, pairing the two together could insure the Jets secondary is set up for the foreseeable and long term future.