Caleb Brantley was a potential first-round pick until he was charged with assaulting a woman in the lead-up to the NFL Draft. The Browns picked him up in the sixth round and flirted with releasing him before those charges were dropped. Now, he’ll give Cleveland a tremendous value in the middle of the field. He’ll compete with Larry Ogunjobi, the greatest player in the history of Charlotte football and a relative gridiron neophyte with the potential to be the next Dontari Poe.
Behind that wealth of talent is a hollow linebacking corps led by Jamie Collins, a potential eight-game rental in 2016 who shifted gears from the league’s No. 1 team to No. 32 after a trade with the Patriots. In a major win for the club, Brown convinced Collins, a pending free agent, to re-up with the club. The Pro Bowler was water to the desert in Cleveland, immediately taking a spotlight role in a depleted depth chart. His tackle numbers rose from 4.7 per game to 8.6 with the Browns, showcasing just how important he was — and how few options the team had to make stops in its second level.
The franchise has a lot of corny, ridiculous things that deserve to be made fun of: villains who contribute to excruciatingly formulaic plots; the soundtrack, which can range from romantically cheesy to “wait, this is totally a knockoff of John Fogerty’s ‘Centerfield’”; the ridiculous sports scenes involving Air Bud, like his aforementioned batting practice, and this block from Spikes Back.
But there’s something about the Air Bud series that’s worth admiring: These movies have heart.
You see a gifted dog get abused and abandoned, then end up in a loving home. You see the Framm family move to a new town and try to cope with the death of their pilot father. You see Josh Framm struggle to make friends at school and stumble through a couple of extracurricular activities before trying out for the basketball team.