University of Florida defensive lineman Caleb Brantley became the seventh Florida Gators player taken in the 2017 NFL Draft when the Cleveland Browns selected him 185th overall in the sixth round.
Brantley came to Florida as the ninth rated defensive tackle in the country out of Crescent City High School. He redshirted in 2013 before finally seeing action and playing in all 12 games as a redshirt freshman.
When Jim McElwain and the new coaching staff took over in 2015, Brantley assumed a starting role. With 29 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss, Pro Football Focus named him to Second Team All-America.
He worked hard in preparing for what would be his final season with the Gators as he lost 17 pounds over the offseason. Prior to his redshirt junior season, Brantley proclaimed himself as the best defensive lineman in the country, saying he didn’t think it was close.
That bold statement might not have played out exactly as planned, but Brantley shined in certain moments throughout the season. He put his best game together in Florida’s 16-10 win at LSU with a season-high five tackles, three for a loss, and two huge stops inside the 10-yard line, one on a forced fumble and the other on a third down tackle for loss at the one yard line.
He led the team with 9.5 tackles for loss in 2016 and totaled 20 tackles for loss in his career. Brantley finished with 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries as a redshirt junior.
Brantley had the ability to move around for the Gators, but was most effective as a 3-technique and that is where he is likely headed in the NFL.
Prior to the draft, many scouts spoke highly of Brantley, but agreed he needs to work on the mental aspect of his game and his motor to finish plays before he is ready to play at the next level.