Kansas City Chiefs first-round draft pick George Karlaftis was an easy player to spot during the team’s three-day rookie minicamp from Saturday through Monday.
That’s because numerous times, the Purdue defensive end was flying around the edge to put pressure on the quarterback … and sometimes even sprinting when coach Andy Reid said it wasn’t completely necessary.
“He goes 100 miles an hour. Walk-throughs, everything. We’ve gotta slow him down,” Reid said with a laugh following the conclusion of the three-day minicamp. “But I’ll tell you, it looks like he’s got a nice feel for the game.”
Case in point: On Day 2 of minicamp, Reid said the Chiefs implemented specific blitz schemes that required Karlaftis to drop into coverage while other teammates blitzed. Reid was impressed by the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Karlaftis then, saying the defensive end showed an ability to move well in space.
“He’s got good hands it looks like — again, this is just the work that we’re doing,” Reid said. “But that motor is probably the thing that jumps out at you.”
Karlaftis’ effort level — the Chiefs selected him with the 30th pick in the recent NFL Draft — seemed to align with what he promised during a draft-day interview with reporters. Then, Karlaftis said he was eager to “come in as the lowest man on the totem pole and work my way up. I’m going to earn my stripes and work as hard as I possibly can.”
Ahead of the Chiefs’ first day of rookie minicamp Saturday, Karlaftis also was asked about being a high-intensity player.
“That’s how I like to play the game,” Karlaftis said. “I think that comes from training and the desire to win and get after the quarterback and help the team win.”
Now, Reid says, some effort will be made to make sure Karlaftis isn’t going too hard in drills. That’s especially important in walk-through sessions, where Reid said one player ramping up when others aren’t could lead to potential injuries.
Reid’s advice to Karlaftis and other rookies, even when trying to prove themselves: Just go with the tempo that the team gives.
Having said all that, Reid seemed pleased to have an eager player ready to join the team’s defensive end rotation in 2022.
“He goes,” Reid said of Karlaftis, “and goes.”
Four-star DL/TE Jaxon Howard names Miami football finalist with June 24 visit
Four-star 2023 defensive lineman and tight end Jaxon Howard has named the Miami football program as one of four finalists with LSU, Michigan and Minnesota. The Minneapolis Robbinsdale Cooper prospect tweeted his finalists on Monday afternoon with his visits that will include Coral Gables from June 24 through 26.
Minnesota is the favorite to sign Howard with a 21.6 percent chance to 18.6 for Miami according to On3 Sports. LSU is at seven percent with Michigan less than a one percent chance. Wisconsin which is not a finalist is listed ahead of LSU. Notre Dame and Oklahoma who are also not finalists are tied with the Tigers.
Howard previously took an unofficial visit to Miami in January. Miami also hosted Howard during their spring game in April. Howard reportedly additionally attended LSU and Minnesota’s spring games last month and is expected to commit in July. Howard is the son of former Stanford star Willie Howard.
As expected, defensive line coach Joe Salave’a and tight ends coach Stephen Field are leading the recruitment for Howard. Howard seems more likely to play DL in college than TE. At 6’4, 245 pounds, Allen Trieu of 247 Sports said of Howard “more of a rarer specimen on defense…he can be a combo inside-outside player on the defensive line.”
The past 3 years I have been blessed to be offered by over 60 amazing colleges. I built genuine relationships with so many coaches & value all the time they have spent with me. After 41 Unofficial Visits & much Prayer I have Narrowed my Top 4 and will take my Officials pic.twitter.com/3QXdA9Fbx1
— Jaxon Howard (@11JaxonHoward) May 16, 2022
The Miami football program has five commits for 2023 with only three-star linebacker Bobby Washington on defense. Mario Cristobal has made the DL a priority in just over five months since being hired. Miami has added eight DL in the Class of 2022 and through the transfer portal since Cristobal was hired in December.
The addition of Howard to 2022 signees Nyjalik Kelly and Cyrus Moss would provide Miami with a bright future at edge rusher. Cristobal and Salave’a coached Kayvon Thibodeau at Oregon who was the fifth overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft by the New York Giants. Howard is the 87th ranked player in the Class of 2023.
Is Elieser Hernandez not good enough for the Miami Marlins rotation?
Elieser Hernandez seems to be an unpopular member of the Miami marlins rotation, with many calling for his replacement. We even suggested it ourselves. Should Elieser really be pushed out of the rotation though? Is there potential? Let’s find out…
Elieser Hernandez is somehow still in the Miami Marlins rotation.
Elieser Hernandez has so far started 7 games and pitched 33.2 innings. He has a 6.15 ERA/6.52 FIP. He has 8.02 K/9 and 3.21 BB/9. Yeah this isn’t good to say the least. The bright sides are his 4.46 xERA and 4.96 xFIP. Well bright as in better than his ERA and FIP.
He doesn’t have a track record of better results either. Elieser’s best ERA has been 3.16 in 2020 and his best ever FIP has been his 3.89 that same season. Unfortunately both came in a very short sample of 25.2 innings. These are promising results, but the short sample size is a major red flag.
Is there promise when looking at his Minor League statistics? Let’s take a look… he did well in AAA in in 2018, starting 9 games and delivering 48 innings of 1.12 ERA ball. He also had 12.9 K/9 and 2.6 BB/9. Those are impressive numbers, but so far they haven’t translated to the Majors.
What about Elieser Hernandez’s fastball velocity? He sits at 91.3 MPH. That’s not very promising either. Unfortunately the more I look at his stats, the more I feel that he just needs to be replaced at this point. I just don’t see a reason for giving him more starts.
Max Meyer? Edward Cabrera? Why not just give one of them a chance already? Find out what we really have with them? I think that at this point Elieser Hernandez is best as a swingman type, filling in when there’s an injury. I just don’t see much point in continuing to give him starts and there’s just no obvious upside to keep hoping for.
Miami Marlins career retrospective: A.J. Burnett
Do you remember A.J. Burnett? I recently wrote a career retrospective on his more famous Miami Marlins (then Florida Marlins teammate). Burnett was once a highly touted prospect who was supposed to be an ace of the future. He was officially a part of the 2002 World Series winning team, though he didn’t actually pitch during the playoffs. Let’s take a look at his Miami Marlins career.
A.J. Burnett was drafted in the eighth round of the 1995 draft by the New York Mets. On February 6, 1998 he was traded to the Miami Marlins in the Al Leiter trade along with Minor League OF Rob Stratton and Minor League LHP Jesus Sanchez (yes he has the same name as our current CF). The Fish traded Leiter and Minor League 2B Ralph Milliard in the trade. If you’re interested to know who won that trade using Wins Above Replacement, the Miami Marlins ended up with 12.5 WAR and the New York Mets with 28.1 WAR, so the New York Mets won by 15.6 WAR.
A.J. Burnett rose up the prospect rankings and finally got the call in 1999. He started 7 games and pitched for 41.1 innings, delivering a 3.48 ERA/4.30 FIP. The following season he received 13 starts and delivered 82.2 innings of 4.79 ERA/4.68 FIP ball. In 2001 he started 27 games and delivered 173.1 innings of 4.05 ERA/4.63 FIP. At this point he appeared as perhaps best a mid-rotation arm , however he was going to improve.
In 2002, A.J. Burnett broke out with a 3.30 ERA/3.19 FIP in 31 games (29 starts) and 204.1 innings pitched. Unfortunately the newly crowned ace then got injured and only started in 4 games in 2003, with a 4.70 ERA/4.94 FIP. Coming off a World Championship the previous season, the Miami Marlins welcomed Burnett back in 2004 for 20 games (19 starts) and 120 innings of 3.68 ERA/3.19 FIP ball. Burnett was back as an ace, but needed to work his way back to a full workload.
2005 turned out to be the final season for A.J. Burnett in a Miami Marlins uniform, as he left after the season as a free agent. In that season, Burnett capped off his tenure with The Fish with a 3.44 ERA/3.11 FIP in 32 games and 209 innings pitched. It was a great platform season and led to him leaving for Toronto. A.J. Burnett had a couple very good seasons for The Fish, but he was never an integral part of a pennant or a World Series winning team and didn’t provide longevity, thus not having a memorable career in the end unfortunately.
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