The Cleveland Browns continued their work by signing sixth-round draft pick Caleb Brantley to his rookie contract on Friday.
The Cleveland Browns signed defensive lineman Caleb Brantley on Friday, the team’s sixth-round draft choice out of Florida.
Brantley was a controversial selection on draft weekend. At the time of the pick he was involved in a criminal complaint that alleged he struck a female acquaintance. The charges were dropped earlier this week, however, due to a lack of evidence.
Even before that news, Browns co-owner Dee Haslam spoke out in support of Brantley and the decision-making by executive vice president of football operations Sashi Brown, according to ohio.com:
"“Sashi and our personnel group have done an amazing job. So we just trust them and their decisions. So we’re excited to have Caleb on the team. We feel like he’s doing the right things to get better. But these are young men, and you do understand that we’re doing our best to build great men. So we hope surrounding him and doing the right things, he can become that great man. He has work to do. But we are confident that as an organization we’ll continue to work on that.”"
How Brantley fits into the Browns defense remains to be seen. There were some draft analysts who had Brantley pegged for a first- or second-round draft pick before his legal issue, so if that is true Cleveland may have picked up an extremely talented player on the draft’s third day.
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Brantley earned second-team All-SEC honors in 2016 after finishing the year with 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 9.5 tackles for loss. A redshirt junior, he finished his collegiate career with 81 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.
But the pre-draft evaluation process also brought talk of him not giving a full effort or missing out on plays because he is undisciplined.
If that is true then Brantley won’t last long with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams running the show. But if anyone can get Brantley to play up to his talent it would be Williams and head coach Hue Jackson.
Cleveland has now signed seven of its 10 draft picks. In addition to Brantley, the team has signed defensive end Myles Garrett, defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi, cornerback Howard Wilson, offensive tackle Roderick Johnson, place kicker Zane Gonzalez and running back Matthew Dayes.
First-round selections Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku, and second-round pick DeShone Kizer, remain the only players not under contract from the 2017 draft class.