Sione Takitaki a starting linebacker
This may not be much of a shock given the injury to Mack Wilson, but second-year linebacker Sione Takitaki has been listed as the starting strongside linebacker in defensive coordinator Joe Woods’ defense with Week 1 right around the corner. He is listed with free-agent addition B.J. Goodson (starting at MIKE), and Mack Wilson at WILL (now manned by 2020 third-round pick Jacob Phillips).
Takitaki is coming off a rookie season where he looked completely out of his element and even struggled to find special teams reps for the Browns in 2019. The former third-round pick, however, has apparently been in the weight room transforming his body and in the playbook in order to digest Woods’ playbook as he has put together a solid training camp this summer.
With the injury to Wilson and the overall inexperience of the linebacker corps, the Browns will need Takitaki to take a huge stride in 2020 on the field. His performance in training camp, rewarded with a starting role, seems to be a good indication that the second-year linebacker out of BYU may be up for the task.
Not only will he be starting Sunday against the Ravens, but he will take on a huge role as the SAM linebacker. How big of a jump did he make this offseason? We will find out when he is lined up across from reigning MVP Lamar Jackson.