NFL Draft news on Day 3 included the Cleveland Browns selecting Caleb Brantley as the first pick of the sixth round. However, Cleveland could resend rights to the former Florida defensive tackle due to a pending legal case.
Brantley was the No. 185 overall pick in the NFL Draft. Largely considered a first or second round talent, Brantley did not hear his name called until the sixth round.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that Cleveland Browns extensively researched Brantley’s charges for misdemeanor battery. They also met with Brantley personally before drafting him.
Still, Browns Executive Vice President Sashi Brown said the team could decide to not keep Brantley. Brown said the misdemeanor charge against Brantley is concerning and that the team might not be comfortable with it.
Many people questioned if Brantley would get drafted at all due to the uncertainty hanging over him.
Of all the surprises in this draft, the Browns draft Caleb Brantley. Shocked he got selected at all given his legal situation
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) April 29, 2017
One coach even told NFL teams to stay away from Brantley as an undrafted free agent, according to SEC Country. There were also questions about Brantley’s work ethic and athleticism in college.
Cleveland selected Brantley over prominent prospects like Tulane defensive tackle Tanzel Smart, Lousiana Tech safety Xavier Woods, Oklahoma St. defensive tackle Vincent Taylor, and others. Brantley may have been the best talent available at the time. However, there is major uncertainty over his legal future.
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) April 29, 2017
The battery charge stems from a night earlier this month in Florida. Brantley allegedly hit a woman in the face, and she was knocked unconscious. The woman also suffered damage to her mouth as a result from the incident.
A police report says that Brantley and woman engaged in a verbal altercation after some comments from Brantley. The woman allegedly pushed Brantley after he “disrespected” her. Brantley allegedly retaliated by hitting the woman in the face and knocking her unconscious.
Brantley’s use of force was called retaliation, according to the report. Brantley is over six feet tall and almost 300 pounds, while the woman is about five feet tall and 120 pounds.
The woman’s legal representation alleges that the police falsified the initial police report, which listed Brantley as the victim of the incident.
There was no timeline for the investigation leading up to the NFL Draft.
Ultimately, Brantley could wind up as an ideal three-technique for the Cleveland Browns under new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. Brantley’s biggest strength is exploiting gaps in blocking schemes, according to SB Nation. The defensive tackle uses his hands and acceleration to slip into the backfield. Brantley earned comparisons to Los Angeles Rams’ Pro Bowl defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Williams also coached Donald.
This makes him an ideal fit if the Browns run a 4-3 defense. However, Brantley faces stiff competition for playing tame. Cleveland already has Emmanuel Ogbah, Danny Shelton, Gabe Wright, and Carl Nassib as interior defensive linemen. They also drafted Larry Ogunjobi in the beginning of the third round.
Thus, it will be interesting to see how the Browns will use Brantley. Of course, they will have to decide if they will even keep Brantley first.
Either way, the Browns had a ton of picks in this NFL Draft. Thus, they could afford to roll the dice on Brantley even if he does not make the roster.
As long as his legal situation allows him, Brantley has enough talent to make the Browns roster. Still, they may not even let him get that far if they resend their rights as the reports indicate.
Brantley finished his three-year career at Florida with 80 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles.
Stay posted for more NFL Draft news and developments in the Caleb Brantley case.
[Featured Image by Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Images]