The Cleveland Browns just made one of the riskiest picks of the 2018 NFL Draft, but it could end up being steal if their newest player can stay clean.
With the 105th overall pick in the draft, the Browns traded up to grab controversial former Florida receiver Antonio Callaway, who saw his stock take a major hit this week after it was revealed that he failed a drug test at the NFL combine in February. Callaway apparently admitted in a combine interview that he smoked pot roughly six weeks before the combine, which definitely calls into question his decision-making skills, since each prospect know that they're going to be drug tested at the event.
To land Callaway, the Browns moved up nine spots in a trade with the Patriots. In the deal, the Browns sent the 114th overall pick and 178th overall pick (sixth round) to New England in exchange for the 105th overall pick.
Some scouts had speculated that Callaway could have been a first-round pick this year if not for his constant off-the-field troubles. Not only did he fail the drug test, but he also missed the entire 2017 season at Florida after being suspended by the Gators for the role he played in a credit card fraud scheme last August.
In an interview that was conducted just before the draft, Callaway told NFL.com that he was willing to take "responsibility" for all of this bad decisions."
"The main thing is, I take responsibility for everything I caused on myself, the things that could've been avoided," Callaway said. "And the birth of my daughter, she changed my point of view on life. On everything. I'm just letting teams know I'm coming to work when I get the chance."
If you're wondering why the Browns decided to take a chance on Callaway, it's because when he's actually on the field, he's nearly unstoppable. During the two seasons he did play at Florida (2015 and 2016), he led the team in receiving yards both years. He's also a versatile player who can help out on special teams. During his two-year college career, he scored a touchdown in nearly every way possible: Not only did he throw a touchdown pass, but he also tallied at least one rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown, punt return touchdown and kickoff return touchdown during his brief college career.
If he can stay out of trouble, Callaway could quickly turn into a favorite target of new Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.
If the Browns have proven one thing over the past few years, it's that they're willing to take a chance on troubled players. Last year, the Browns stopped the draft slide of Callaway's former Florida teammate, Caleb Brantley. Brantley was projected to go as high as the second round but fell to the sixth round after he was accused of misdemeanor battery, a charge that was later dismissed.
Of course, you're probably well aware that the Browns also have Josh Gordon, who missed two and a half seasons due to drug related suspensions, before returning to the team in 2017. One thing is for sure: if Callaway and Gordon can stay out of trouble, the Browns could end up having one of the best receiving corps in the NFL in 2018. Besides those two, the Browns also have Jarvis Landry.
The Browns have added some serious offensive weapons during the 2018 draft. Besides Callaway and Mayfield, the team also snagged Georgia running back Nick Chubb in the second round.