The Cleveland Browns kicked off the sixth round of the draft, selecting defensive lineman Caleb Brantley of Florida with pick No. 185. Brantley is a player similar to former Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon, who was selected by the Cincinnati Bengals, in that he is a highly talented guy, but has huge character issues. He was arrested and is facing a misdemeanor count of simple battery in Florida for allegedly punching a woman. Before the incident, he was my No. 3 interior defensive lineman. This is my breakdown of the newest Cleveland Brown from my position rankings:
Caleb Brantley is a defensive tackle with a good combination of quickness and bulk. When the ball is snapped, he displays a quick burst off the line, giving him an initial advantage against the blocker. He has quick and active hands that allow him to slap away attempts from offensive linemen to engage him. Along with his active hands, he uses his quickness and good lateral agility to evade the hands of blockers, and to remain free to pursue the ball carrier. At 307 pounds, he has good bulk throughout his body. The former Gator has good strength. He uses his strength to output a powerful punch to blockers, allowing him to throw linemen aside when he is engaged with them. He is a stout player at the point of attack and he is able to hold up against double teams, which allows others around him to be free. He will be able to affect both the pass and run game for a defense. Brantley is able to play any of the defensive tackle spots in 3-4 and 4-3 defenses, making him available for every NFL team.
But, Brantley has some shortcomings in his game. He does not have great length of height for a defensive tackle, coming in at just 6-foot-3 with 32-inch arms. One of the ways his length hurts him is his ability to tackle. He has quite a few occasions where he misses a tackle trying to reach for the ball carrier, but coming up short. His stiffer change of direction and slower long speed also leads to ball carriers escaping his grasps. As a pass rusher, he does not possess a refined pass rushing skill set, lacking a repertoire of moves. He can be stalemated when he is engaged in a pass rush attempt. Lastly, he can get out of position at times and lose awareness of where the play is at. But, Brantley is a defensive tackle with a unique combination of quickness and strength, along with active hands.
At Florida last season, Brantley notched 31 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, one forced fumble and 2.5 sacks in 13 games. Selecting him is a huge risk given his arrest and other character question marks such as admitting he was lazy. The Browns must have done extensive work on the former Gator and decided that it was the right time to take a risk on the defensive lineman. Talent alone, he is a great fit at the three technique on the defensive line for the Browns. But, will he even be on the field is the question. Here are some highlights of the newest Brown: