Surely Caleb Brantley realizes this upcoming season is a great opportunity provided him.
Brantley having earned second-team All SEC his last season at Florida, approached the 2017 NFL Draft optimistically.
In fact, PFF when rating all interior lineman on first down pass rushing, had Brantley ranked number one in the draft, with a PRP score of 18.4.
Consequently, nfl.com had Brantley ranked as the 24th best prospect for the draft and most others had Brantley graded a second-round pick.
However an off-the-field incident days prior to the draft, ending with Brantley being charged with misdemeanor assault after allegedly knocking a woman unconscious, resulted in the former Florida Gator not having his name announced during the 2017 Draft until the first pick of round six (185 overall).
In addition, Browns’ executive Sashi Brown wasted no time distancing the franchise from Brantley, stating initially that the Browns might even release Brantley depending upon their investigation of him.
His assault charge was later dismissed, Brantley cleared, and the Browns signed Brantley to a four-year contract.
During the 2017 season Brantley appeared in 12 games (one start) recording 18 tackles (12 solo, 6 assisted) with three tackles for a loss, two QB sacks and two QB hurries.
September 1, following the 2018 preseason, the Browns suddenly and surprisingly waived Brantley.
Incidentally, Redskins fans, also waived that same day by the Browns was current Redskins DE Nate Orchard.
Cleveland had drafted Orchard in round 2 (51st overall) in the 2015 draft.
Brantley’s 24th birthday the following day (September 2) was perhaps a dreary day for Brantley; however, his spirits were elevated when the Redskins gave him a birthday gift signing him September 3.
Brantley played seven games in 2018 but only a single game in 2019, being placed on injured reserve, due to a Lisfranc injury (foot) permitting him only eight snaps in the opener against Philadelphia.
2020 brings a new coaching staff, employing a 4-3 defense which means Brantley will be able to penetrate more as an interior tackle rather than the 3-4 scheme previously utilized by the Redskins.
The system seeming to be a better fit for Brantley, is his big chance to play well, make an impression, and earn a much bigger contract.
Brantley knows what is at stake, has stated he is glad to have had the Redskins offer him a contract for this season, and is excited about the new defensive coaching staff and scheme.
Inside the Numbers:
Brantley is 25 years old and will turn 26 before the NFL season starts.
Having played at tiny Crescent City HS in Crescent City, FL, Brantley became only the second player from Crescent City to make it to an NFL roster during a regular season (Clarence Pooh Bear Williams appeared in three games for Buffalo in 1998, after playing at Florida State).
Leading up the 2017 NFL Draft, NFL Network Analyst and former Redskins General Manager, Charley Casserly referred to Brantley as a “powerful, stout defensive tackle”.
Indeed Caleb measures to a stout 6-foot-2 305 pounds.
96 will be the jersey number worn by Brantley in the 2020 season.
You may recall, that his number previously was 99.
However, you may have heard someone else is going to be displaying 99 in 2020.
(Ok, for those who missed it, Chase Young, the second overall selection in the 2020 draft, will now be wearing 99).
There will be much competition in Redskins’ camp and preseason games for defensive line roster spots.
If the Redskins keep five defensive tackles, Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matt Ioannidis, Tim Settle, and Brantley is already five.
In addition, Chase Young, Montez Sweat, Ryan Kerrigan, Nate Orchard, Ryan Bee, Jordan Brailford, Cameron Malveaux and James Smith-Williams will all be competing at defensive end.
Head coach, Ron Rivera made it clear early after taking the job, his coaching staff would be evaluating all Redskins via game tape; however, Brantley only appeared in one game in 2019.
Perhaps coaches watched Brantley’s NFL tape from 2018 for the Skins and 2017 as a Brown?
Whatever the coaching staff observed, the Redskins resigned Brantley on March 23rd.
Brantley’s base salary will be $750,000 and with no roster or workout bonuses, Brantley’s 2020 cap number will be the same $750,000.
Video Analysis / Highlights:
Perhaps the Caleb Brantley highlights that led the new staff to resign Brantley in March?
Scouting report on Caleb Brantley leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft.
What they’re saying:
Working hard to return from injury:
“This is going to be my toughest test. This is my first time having a major injury. So, I kinda look forward to the challenge. I want to challenge myself and see how I am going to come out on top of the situation. I want to come out and prove people wrong.” - Caleb Brantley to Larry Michael
Regarding the Redskins switching from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3:
“I am used to playing there (DT). I feel like I get to use my explosiveness and disruption in a 4-3. I am just ready to cut it loose. I am excited to play the defense”.
Regarding the Redskins New Coaching Staff Wanting Brantley:
“I think the re-signing of Caleb Brantley for the Redskins is a quiet, under-the-radar move that will pay a good dividends down the line.” - Chris Russell
Clay's system says Brantley will only have one tackle and 21 defensive snaps played.
Check out Ivan's other "Skins Spotlight" series profiles:
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Ivan Lambert is a lifelong die-hard Washington Redskins fan, raised in Berryville, Virginia. He is married and the father of two fine young men. He is currently a sports correspondent for The Ledger in Lakeland, Florida and can be found on Twitter @IvanLambert18