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New LB Takitaki a Solid Addition For Patriots

The veteran linebacker is a terrific athlete who should bolster the Patriots LB group.

Ian Logue
Ian Logue on Twitter
March 12, 2024 at 3:06 pm ET

New LB Takitaki a Solid Addition For Patriots(PHOTO: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)

🕑 Read Time: 2 minutes

The addition of Browns free agent linebacker Sione Takitaki is a fairly notable one, especially considering the type of athlete he is.

Eliot Wolf talked this offseason about wanting to try and get faster and more explosive on defense, and those are boxes Takitaki certainly checks.

He’s a player that both Wolf an Alonzo Highsmith were high on after taking him in the 2019 draft out in Cleveland, and he’s certainly produced on the field.  He has 269 tackles including 4 sacks and 2 interceptions along with 4 passes defended during his five seasons in Cleveland.

He did suffer a setback after sustaining a torn ACL back in Week 13 of his 2022 campaign, but it clearly didn’t hamper him last season.  In fact, he’s currently coming off of his most productive year as a pro, with Takitaki finishing 2023 with 45 solo tackles, 2 sacks, an interception, and three passes defended.

“Really physical, exciting player,” said Wolf in his press conference with Highsmith after the Browns selected Takitaki.  “Plays super hard every play.  Can run, can cover, can blitz.  Played defensive end last year, so he has some pass rush to him.  We’re really excited and fortunate to get him here with this pick.”

“This is a physical, physical football player.  I mean, he plays with violence and we felt like that was something that kind of separated him from some of the other linebackers in his class.  So we feel really good about the value here and his ability to contribute to the team.”

It was interesting to hear Wolf talk about Sione’s rise in college, and it sounds like he matured quite a bit ahead of his arrival into the NFL.  He also possesses a lot of the traits that Wolf talked about during his first press conference last month when he talked about building the culture here in New England.

“The thing that’s exciting about Sione is he really turned his life around,” said Wolf after Takitaki’s selection.  “This is a kid who came in immature, probably wasn’t ready, he’s from California, went to Utah, probably wasn’t ready to be away from home.  And the cool thing about this guy is he is a success story at BYU.”

“You talk to anyone there, they kind of didn’t think he was going to make it after his first year or so, and he completely turned his life around.  [He] became a team captain this year, he was just that guy in the program.  You go out to practice, everyone’s looking to him.  He’s a ball of energy, and he’s a real leader and culture-changer.”

That sort of gives you some insight into how Eliot views certain players, and Takitaki clearly went on to be productive in the Browns’ defense.  .

Now they’re reunited here in New England.

(Editor’s Note: The above appeared in a recent daily Patriots notebook column.)

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About Ian Logue

Ian Logue is a Seacoast native and owner and senior writer for PatsFans.com, an independent media site covering the New England Patriots and has been running this site in one form or another since 1997.


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