ASHBURN, Virginia -- The Washington Redskins on Monday signed defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, who dropped in the 2017 NFL draft because of a sworn complaint of misdemeanor simple battery that was later dismissed.
Brantley was projected to go around the second round by some draft experts based on his ability, but he fell to the Cleveland Browns in the sixth round in part because of the complaint. It stemmed from an altercation with a woman at a bar in Gainesville, Florida. She claimed that after pushing him, Brantley responded by "striking [her] in the face, knocking her unconscious." But charges were not pursued because of "insufficient evidence to sustain a conviction," according to Alachua County (Florida) Court records.
"Obviously everything happened how it happened. Everything came to light that came to light. But nobody cares about that. It is what it is. I'm just here to play ball," he said Monday.
There also were pre-draft concerns, according to multiple reports, about a poor combine workout that helped cause Brantley's slide. He played in 12 games as a rookie with Cleveland, recording 18 tackles and two sacks but was waived by the team as they trimmed their roster to 53 players.
In Washington, he'd likely play end in the base defense and tackle in nickel packages.
"I can add pressure up the middle and just be a disruptive force. That's what kind of player I am. I just get in there and get vertical and penetrate. And I feel like I can be that kind of player here," Brantley said.
He said the past few days have been surprising -- being cut and now signing in Washington.
"It's in the past, but I'm here now and just ready to work," he said.
The Redskins released defensive lineman Anthony Lanier, designating him as injured, to make room for Brantley. Lanier made the Redskins in 2016 as an undrafted free agent; he's been dealing with a hip flexor issue.
Washington has rebuilt its defensive line, with all three starters 24 years or younger. The Redskins drafted two linemen in the first round in the last two drafts: nose tackle Daron Payne and end Jonathan Allen. Their third starter, Matt Ioannidis is 24 and another key reserve is rookie Tim Settle. They have praised this group's work ethic and approach repeatedly.