Cleveland Browns: Don’t be surprised if Antonio Callaway is one of the draft picks


Don’t be surprised if the Cleveland Browns draft someone with off the field issues.

One of the most talented wide receivers in the 2018 NFL Draft class won’t be selected until day three. Every team, including the Cleveland Browns, will be in a position to draft him but who will take the chance?

Florida’s Antonio Callaway is a first-round talent, and in a class such as this one, would probably be the first WR taken. But that won’t be the case? Why? A plethora of off-field issues. gave a summary of Callaway’s history with the law:

"He faced a sexual assault trial between his freshman and sophomore year but was cleared of those charges before the 2016 season by admitting during the hearing he was “so stoned” he did not want to have sex with anyone. He was also cited for marijuana possession in May 2017 as a passenger in a car stopped because the driver wasn’t wearing his seat belt; he pled no contest to possession of paraphernalia in July 2017. Calloway never played in 2017 because of his involvement in a credit card fraud scheme with other teammates."

So Callaway has a repeated history of serious offenses. Not good, but in spite of that, he was invited to the 2018 NFL Combine.

Who cares if he’s a good person or not, he can play football!

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When Callaway was on the field, he was a dynamic player, totaling 89 receptions for 1,399 yards and seven touchdowns. He also returned two punts for scores.

Callaway stands 5’11” and weighs 197lbs, which is not ideal for an outside receiver, but his athleticism makes up for what he lacks in stature.

He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.41 seconds and had a 34-inch vertical. Callaway is both a legitimate deep threat and a fantastic runner after the catch.

If Sashi Brown was still general manager, Callaway would not even be in the discussion for any of the Browns’ picks. Brown put a lot of importance on character, drafting great people like DL Emmanuel Ogbah and Myles Garrett, and David Njoku. There were only two minor blips on the radar during his regime.

WR Corey Coleman was sued for involvement in a 2016 New Years’ Eve assault which took place at his apartment, but he was not present at the time of the incident. This also took place after he was drafted.

A few weeks before the 2017 NFL Draft, Florida DT Caleb Brantley, a projected first-round pick, was charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly knocking a woman unconscious. Brantley refuted the situation by claiming self-defense, and the Browns felt comfortable enough to draft him in the sixth round. Brantley has since had no further issues and looks to be a big part of the Browns’ defensive line rotation moving forward.

New GM John Dorsey is quite the opposite. In 2015, the Kansas City Chiefs drafted cornerback Marcus Peters 15th overall.

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Despite being an All-Pro however, was traded this offseason because of, you guessed it, off-field issues; mainly his locker room personality. During the pre-draft process, it was well documented that Peters could have emotional issues in the league, and that’s exactly what ended up happening.

Another example is WR Tyreek Hill in the 2016 Draft. Hill is now one of the NFL’s most electrifying players, but there’s a reason he fell all the way to the end of the fifth round.

He was dismissed from Oklahoma State in 2015 after pleading guilty to punching, choking, and pushing his pregnant girlfriend down the stairs.

The Browns do need help at wide receiver, and given his history, there isn’t much reason to believe that Dorsey will pass on Callaway for character concerns. Cleveland holds the Green Bay Packers’ fifth-round selection, and, if he is available, Callaway seems like a probable choice.

Whether or not it should happen for moral reasons is for each fan to decide. It’s fine to give people second chances and to not write them off as bad people for their past mistakes, but each case has to be weighed on its own merits, rather than following a general rule.

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Callaway is a risk that many NFL teams won’t be interested in taking, but Dorsey probably won’t shy away.