With the 185th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Cleveland Browns selected defensive tackle Caleb Brantley from the University of Florida. A few weeks ago, Brantley was seen as a potential early-round pick, but off the field concerns including an incident just weeks before the draft caused him to plummet into day three.
Brantley is facing a misdemeanor battery charge stemming from an incident at a bar near UF’s campus, where he allegedly struck a woman. Some reports claim he was attacked first, and he claims he acted out of self defense. However, with recent incidents surrounding Ray Rice and Joe Mixon, there is an understandably heightened awareness and concern about NFL players making any sort of physical contact with a woman.
Cleveland Browns’ general manager Sashi Brown addressed the media shortly after the selection of Brantley, stating Brantley’s actions were “very concerning to us” and that they need to “get comfortable” with the situation. He also made it pretty clear that if they couldn’t get to that point, Brantley’s time with the Browns would be short.
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When it is all said and done, this pick seems like a lottery ticket. If Brantley can avoid significant consequences from his actions earlier this month, he could turn out to be a contributing factor on a defensive line that is already seen as one of the up-and-coming in the NFL with this year’s first overall selection, Myles Garrett, and last year’s second-round pick, Emmanuel Ogbah. If the Browns see that there are more serious penalties on the horizon for Brantley, or more details come out on the incident that cause them to be uneasy about him being on the team and representing the organization, they will likely cut him and not be too worried about losing out on a sixth-round pick when they have nine other players in the fold from the past three days of draft activity.