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Pick: Round 6, Pick 185
Position: Defensive Tackle
Weight: 307 lbs.
Now that we are a couple weeks removed from the draft it is quite evident that the Browns’ brass were on the search for prospects with high ceilings. Brantley, an experienced and talented defensive tackle out of a big time SEC school, fits right in with that mold.
Prior to his junior season, the former Gator was quoted saying that he “was the best defensive tackle in the country” and that he did not “think it was close.” While this is a stretch, he certainly did make a name for himself in his time at Florida.
Brantley played in eight games as a true freshman and followed that up with at least 11 games played in his sophomore and junior seasons, all the while going up against some of the best offensive linemen that college football has to offer.
The 22-year-old built his reputation as a mobile defensive tackle that was explosive and extremely quick off the snap. The consensus among scouts is that his reflexes are one of his best traits.
“When he gets the snap timed up, it’s over,” wrote NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL.com. “[He has a] quick punch and pry open blockers’ edge allowing him to wedge into the pocket.”
Another thing that Brantley has going for him is his well-roundedness as a defensive tackle. Scouts tend to agree that he pairs his quickness with an impressive dose of strength, both in the lower and upper body.
This combination of attributes helps him, particularly in the pass rush. At one point in the 2016 season, Brantley had generated pressure on the quarterback in 19 of 79 passing snaps, which led the nation according to Pro Football Focus.
With his impressive array of tools, the Crescent City, Florida native likely would have been selected higher in the draft if not for his involvement in a misdemeanor battery charge in early April. This understandably hurt his draft stock; however, Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer reports that he is likely to be cleared in the investigation soon.
Browns executive VP of football operations Sashi Brown defended the Browns selection of Brantley on ESPN’s Mike & Mike, noting that the defensive tackle had not been charged and no arrest warrant was issued. If Brantley is cleared from this battery incident, this could represent a nice value pick for the Browns in the long run.
Brantley joins Larry Ogunjobi as the two defensive tackles in this Browns’ draft class. While Ogunjobi was selected two rounds earlier, Brantley projects to compete heavily with him for playing time and potentially a starting job in the fall.
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