It probably didn’t happen when he wanted it to, but Caleb Brantley has come off the board in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Brantley, who left the Florida Gators to enter the 2017 NFL Draft and forgo a senior season of eligibility, was selected in the sixth round of the Draft by the Cleveland Browns with the 185th overall pick.
Brantley was a disruptive defensive tackle for most of his four years in Gainesville, and has a penchant for sudden burst off the line reminiscent of fellow former Gators tackle Dominique Easley. He was projected as an early-round pick for much of the fall, but his stock took a hit around the NFL Scouting Combine, where he openly admitted to needing to work on his consistency.
And then there is the incident that likely sent Brantley plummeting down draft boards: On April 13, he had a run-in with a woman at a Gainesville bar in the early morning hours that has since resulted in him being charged with battery. While the situation as a whole is far more messy than clean — Brantley’s lawyer is arguing that Brantley is the victim, not the woman he allegedly rendered unconscious with a punch to the mouth — the proximity of that incident to the NFL Draft and the unknowns in the case likely made Brantley a very risky proposition for any front office.
If Brantley is cleared of his charge, the Browns may well have gotten one of the best steals of the entire NFL Draft, as Brantley’s considerable physical talents had most considering him a lot more valuable than a sixth-round pick. If he isn’t, or if damning video evidence of him surfaces, the Browns might be forced to reconsider their selection — and Brantley’s NFL career may be nearly over before it has even begun.