The Browns made one of the draft’s more controversial picks earlier today by selecting Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, who has been charged with assault for an incident that occurred in Gainesville, Florida, earlier this month.
Brantley’s time with the Browns looks like it will depend on the outcome of this investigation. GM Sashi Brown (via Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, on Twitter) said the team may be forced to part ways with the sixth-round pick. Brown added “the facts of this case may be something we can’t get comfortable with,” candidly discussing how the team could move on if this process progresses to a point the Browns can’t handle (Twitter link, via Cabot).
Viewed as a first- or second-round talent, Brantley has been charged for allegedly striking a woman in a bar and causing dental injuries after a verbal altercation. Cabot adds (Twitter link) that a source relayed a message from a Florida coach telling every team with which he spoke to stay away from Brantley.
Cleveland has not been afraid to make unconventional moves since Brown and Co. took over last year. Drafting a higher-end talent to retain his rights while a legal investigation ensues would qualify as such. The Browns visited with Brantley, but that summit came before the Gainesville incident, Nate Ulrich of Ohio.com tweets.
“It’s concerning to us and continues to be a concern,” Brown said, per Cabot (on Twitter), discussing Brantley’s case.
This makes the draft pick all the more interesting, but the Browns being a team in the early stages of a potential rebuild and being viewed as possibly years away from contention affords the franchise the opportunity to take a risk with a sixth-round pick. Brantley seeing the team that drafted him announce this stance puts his NFL career on thin ice before it’s begun.
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