Analyzing the Cleveland Browns depth chart at linebacker
The surprise draft pick: Sione Takitaki
There was a bit of irony as the Browns had Christian Kirksey on the draft stage to announce their third-round pick. The name he read in Nashville was Sione Takitaki out of BYU. Given the team’s need at safety, the expectation was they would go that direction thus making the Takitaki move a bit surprising.
As for the irony, he could be the player who eventually replaces Kirksey. Knowing he has a high price tag and that the defense struggled even when he was healthy, the Browns could decide to move on from the veteran after this season and go with Takitaki instead.
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A team captain at BYU, Takitaki jumps off the screen when watching his tape. He’s decisive, fast, and smart. He seems to always be around the ball, and should he prove to have those same instincts as a pro, he could have a long and successful career.
The potential draft steal: Mack Wilson
Cleveland went for a second linebacker in the draft when Alabama’s Mack Wilson slid to the fifth round. A star for the Crimson Tide, Wilson was expected to be a day two pick at one point but ended up falling pretty far.
There were rumors of an “attitude issue” as well as a belief that Wilson never took a step forward in his progress as a player, but nothing concrete could pinpoint why he fell. Wilson did play slow at times for the Crimson Tide and will need to learn to be more decisive and trust what he sees.
Still, the fact that a player with his pedigree was there at No. 155 isn’t normal and the Browns got a talented, and motivated player here. It may take some time for him to prove that as the linebacker corps is suddenly stacked, but Wilson gives them a lot of depth and is a potential future starter.