After selecting Greedy Williams earlier, the Cleveland Browns stayed on the defensive side of the ball and selected BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki.
The Cleveland Browns received plenty of praise from the football community when they selected LSU cornerback Greedy Williams in the second round. But there are more questions about their second selection in the draft instead of praise.
With the 80th overall selection, the Cleveland Browns selected BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki. The addition fills a need for the Browns after releasing Jamie Collins earlier in the offseason.
Takitaki is a versatile linebacker who will play in more sub-packages instead of being a true, three-down linebacker. Takitaki was moved around the BYU defense, playing on the edge as well as covering the slot.
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Although it was surprising that the Browns passed on other available linebackers such as Mack Wilson or Blake Cashman, there are some believers in this pick. That includes Cody Williams of NFL Spin Zone, who gave this selection a B with his instant reaction.
"“There’s no question that the Cleveland Browns need help at linebacker to solidify the position moving forward. Sione Takitaki is a pick that can really help that as he can fly around the field and make plays. He needs to enhance his tackling form and consistency, but he’s a high-upside player that fits well. Grade: B” – Williams, NFL Spin Zone"
There may have been better options available for the Browns if they wanted to find a player who can play all three downs. However, Takitaki’s experience in coverage fills a massive need for the Browns defense.
Last season, the Browns linebackers were picked apart in the middle of the field by tight ends and running backs. If the Browns are confident enough in his ability in coverage, then the selection makes sense. But there is a chance that the Browns see him more of an edge rusher instead of being a versatile player in space.
Takitaki also played off the edge and used his crazy good motor to make plays in the backfield. In his final two seasons with BYU, he made 22.5 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.
If the Cleveland Browns can continue to develop his coverage skills and are able to move him all over the defense, it is a home-run pick. But at the moment, he seems like more of a player who will play on the edge in a role similar to Genard Avery. But his motor will translate well into a role on special teams.
It is a decent pick, but the value is slightly off. Grade: C+