University of Florida

Caleb Brantley’s draft slide ends in sixth round

Miami Herald Writer

Defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) rests after running through a drill during Florida's NFL Pro Day in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
Defensive lineman Caleb Brantley (57) rests after running through a drill during Florida's NFL Pro Day in Gainesville, Fla., Tuesday, March 28, 2017. AP

At one point, it seemed to be a lock that Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley would be off the board before the end of the third round.

But an altercation with a woman outside a Gainesville bar two weeks ago cast doubt about his character. Some wondered if he would even be drafted.

His slide ended at the start of the sixth round, when the Cleveland Browns took Brantley with the 185th overall pick.

He was one of three Florida players taken on the final day, with offensive lineman David Sharpe (Fourth round, No. 129 pick, Oakland Raiders) and defensive linemen Joey Ivie (seventh round, No. 228 pick, Dallas Cowboys) selected in the final four rounds of the three-day draft. This gives Florida eight total players selected, which marks the third straight year that at least seven Florida players were drafted.

Brantley’s stock took a major hit due to character concerns raised by a battery case. According to the Alachua County Court record, a pair of witnesses claim Brantley punched the accuser in the face, knocking her unconscious. Brantley told police at the time that the woman, who is 5-6 and 120 pounds, had been the aggressor and struck him. The complaint states the woman shoved Brantley first after he made “crude comments” to her.

Brantley’s female accuser met with the Alachua County State Attorney’s Office, but there is not expected to be a decision on whether to proceed on the case for at least a week.

Brantley, 6-3, 300 pounds, was a force for UF’s defensive line. He led Florida with 9.5 tackles for loss last season and had 20 overall in his three-year career. Brantley has a quick first step and a motor to keep up with most interior offensive linemen when he puts in the effort.

DAY 3 SELECTIONS

Sharpe started 26 games on the offensive line, including 18 straight, for the Gators, but his performance on the field was shaky at best. The 6-6, 343-pound Sharpe struggled against elite pass rushers, an observation most evident in Florida’s 38-28 loss to Tennessee. Vols defensive end Derek Barnett dominated Sharpe and ended the day with two sacks and a third tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He’ll have the opportunity to develop with the Raiders behind 11-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman Donald Penn.

Ivie, a senior, was a force on the interior of the defensive line for the Gators and routinely took on double teams that allowed his linebackers and fellow linemen to get into the backfield. 80 total tackles (10.5 tackles for loss) and seven sacks. But at 6-3 and 301 pounds, Ivie is slightly undersized for a nose tackle but slightly oversized for a traditional 4-3 defensive tackle.

UNDRAFTED

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr., a St. Thomas Aquinas alumnus, went undrafted depite his NFL bloodlines. His father Bryan Cox was a three-time All-Pro linebacker during his five-year stint with the Miami Dolphins and had a 12-year NFL career.

But so far, the younger Cox has yet to flash and show his full potential. The defensive lineman recorded 98 total tackles (21 for loss) and 10 sacks in 44 games (28 starts). His highlight game was a three-sack performance in a 10-9 win over Tennessee in 2014. Cox also struggled with injuries during his Gators career and had to undergo hip surgery following the 2015 season.

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