Florida defensive tackle Caleb Brantley was expecting to be drafted this week, with some projections having him going in the first round. But things have just changed dramatically.
Brantley was arrested in Gainesville for allegedly punching a woman, knocking her unconscious and knocking out a tooth. He is facing a misdemeanor count of simple battery.
The police report says the 307-pound Brantley punched the 120-pound victim in the face. Although the report says the victim pushed Brantley first, it says that the “use of force was clearly out of retaliation and not self defense” and that Brantley’s force “far exceeded what was reasonable or necessary.” Two witnesses saw Brantley punch the woman, police say.
The incident sounds similar to the arrest of Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon. That incident has surely affected Mixon’s draft stock, but Brantley’s stock is likely to drop even further. Mixon has spent the last three months meeting with NFL coaches and personnel executives and promising them that he is a changed man. Brantley simply doesn’t have the time to do that, with only days to go before the draft. Teams may also question whether they can ever trust Brantley to stay out of trouble if he can’t restrain himself from punching a woman when he knows the draft is approaching.
We’ll see this week whether any team is willing to draft Brantley at all, and if so how that team explains why it would take a chance on such a player.