Before drafting Mack Wilson in the fifth round last season, Cleveland took BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki in the third. At the time, it seemed as though the entire fanbase let out a collective — “who?” when the pick was announced. It was also ironically announced by Christian Kirksey, who was essentially introducing the world to a player John Dorsey hoped would make him expendable.
While Kirksey is gone, Takitaki isn’t a reason why. As a rookie, he hardly made any noise at all as he had just 21 tackles in 15 games — with the majority of that coming on special teams.
Heading into his sophomore season, Takitaki has a huge opportunity in front of him and should be the third linebacker at worst. Takitaki is incredibly athletic and flies to the ball, but he can be a bit out of control at times which he needs to reel in. In 2020, he’s going to see the field a lot more than he did as a rookie, he just has to prove he can handle the extra load.
A proven vet, B.J. Goodson was signed in the offseason to help replace Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert. The hope for the Browns is that he can be outplayed by some of the younger options, making him a security blanket for them.
Goodson is much better in run support than pass defense which means when he does see the field, it’s going to be on early downs. He’s not going to wow anyone but he won’t stand out as a weak link either.
As an undrafted free agent out of Iowa State in 2019, Willie Harvey made a name for himself in the preseason for the Browns. He ended up appearing in just two games and recorded no stats but he flashed enough in the exhibition games to give himself a realistic shot at making the roster in 2020.
Harvey is undersized at 5-foot-11 and 230-pounds, which had a lot to do with why he was undrafted. But he makes up for that with his speed and instincts. If he makes a leap this year, he could be a surprise player to watch out for.