Browns

Caleb Brantley could be worth risk as sixth-round pick for Browns

One week ago, Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley was projected to be a late-first or early-second round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. After allegedly punching a woman in the face on the night of April 23, his draft stock fell dramatically. Some draft pundits believed he would not get drafted. Without NFL teams being able to fully vet the situation due to the proximity to the start of the draft, it was reported some teams decided to take him completely off their draft board completely.1

There are witnesses stating Brantley did strike the woman though the initial police report had testimony corroborating Brantley’s side of the story. Bleacher Report’s Ryan McCrystal and Jason Cole have information from both the bar owner and security stating the allegations are false. With this, it was McCrystal who approved of risk the the Browns chanced on Brantley with a sixth-round pick. He is a high-risk player with a high ceiling if he can stay on the field, which is something that is worth taking the chance on in the sixth round.

Here’s what they have discovered while for themselves about the situation Brantley was involved in:

If the accusations are proven to have merit, Brantley will not only be suspended by the NFL, but he will likely be released by the Browns. Executive Vice President of Football Operations Sashi Brown was reported as stating following the selection by nfl.com.

The Browns deeply researched the matter and personally visited with Brantley before making the pick, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

However, Browns executive vice president Sashi Brown told reporters Saturday the team could decide not to keep Brantley. According to NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Brown said the misdemeanor charge Brantley is facing is “concerning.”

“This may not be something we can get comfortable with,” Brown said.

The Cleveland Browns have had their fair share of off-field issues with players in recent years. Wide receiver Josh Gordon’s situation is well documented. Defensive end Armonty Bryant came into the league with question marks and was eventually released by the Browns following a drug-related traffic violation. Quarterback Johnny Manziel and cornerback Justin Gilbert proved to be a  dynamic duo.  The situation with Brantley is most closely aligned with Manziel’s incident with Colleen Crowly in January of 2016, which was the final straw needed for the Browns to cut the troubled quarterback. With Dee Haslam a member of the league’s conduct committee, that the Browns would break stride to speak with the media immediately following the selection is telling of how carefully the team is treating this decision.

In the sixth round, it could be worth the risk. At 6-foot-3, 307 pounds, the defensive tackle has the power and explosion to be a problem for opposing offensive linemen. The All-SEC honoree, he’s someone who can clog up the middle of the line of scrimmage and exploit gaps in the opposing offensive line.

There is an argument that the Browns should never draft a player that has as much risk as Brantley, but if the defensive lineman’s version of the events is proven out, he is essentially a Top 60 talent who was obtained with pick No. 185. If he is proven to have committed the acts that have been alleged, it will be up to the Browns to to hold up their end of the deal.

  1. The same was said to be the case with running back Joe Mixon and teammate Dede Westbrook. []