The Cleveland Browns have signed rookie defensive tackle Caleb Brantley. He was the team’s sixth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Brantley certainly has talent. The Florida product started in 22 games, racking up 5.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles for loss. He also forced three fumbles.
He was originally predicted to go much higher than the sixth round, but then he was accused of battery by a woman in Florida. He plummeted all the way to the sixth round. He had not found out if he was actually going to be charged until after the draft took place, so the Browns took him knowing those charges could still happen.
For them, it was a low-risk proposition. If he was charged and they wanted to cut him, all they were losing was a sixth-round pick. If he wasn’t charged, had his name cleared and turned out to be as good as people thought he’d be, they could wind up with a player with second-round talent that they got in the sixth. That’s a steal. It also means that the Browns won’t have to pay him nearly as much as they would have to pay had they taken him far higher.
Not only has he now signed, but those charges have been dropped. Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times wrote:
“The State Attorney’s Office dismissed the battery case against Browns rookie and former Gators defensive lineman Caleb Brantley on Wednesday after investigators found ‘no reliable evidence’ to support a complaint that he knocked a woman unconscious last month.”