Cleveland Browns: 3 Players standing out early in training camp
3. Sione Takitaki, Linebacker
It wasn’t the name we expected to hear at No. 80 overall, but when starting linebacker Christian Kirksey went to the podium and announced the Cleveland Browns third-round pick, it was Sionne Takitaki out of BYU that was called. Browns Backers across the nation quickly starting googling the name and while it was an unexpected selection, it was easy to see what general manager John Dorsey saw in the young linebacker.
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Takitaki was all over the field for the Cougars as the team captain simply had a nose for the ball. In college, he was a clean tackler who rarely missed — which was a problem for the Browns in 2018 as they had too many whiffs on the ball carrier. Takitaki hopes to help clean that up and is already being seen as a physical presence on the defense — although, he may be a bit too physical according to some.
When the team finally put pads on, the rookie linebacker got a bit pumped. He had been ready to hit someone for a while and got a bit aggressive, which got under the skin of some according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
"“Sione Takitaki has been champing at the bit to hit someone, and he finally got to do so. In the first two days, he got a little physical with guys while in shorts to draw Kitchens’ ire.” — Mary Kay Cabot with Josh Gunter and John Kuntz , Ceveland.com"
Every year, there’s a player who gets a bit rough in the early stages of camp and that’s not a bad thing. While some veterans want to take it slow, a high-energy guy like Takitaki is great to have. He’ll keep his teammates on their toes and eventually, he’s going to be a pain in the rear for opponents.
It’s unlikely the rookie starts this season with Kirksey, Joe Schobert, and Genard Avery on the roster but he could prove to be a starter down the road. Especially if he keeps making plays like he has to start his career.