Eliot Wolf took the podium Friday evening in Berea and raved about the Browns' newest draft selection, BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki.
Wolf described Takitaki as a violent player, one who fits in their mold of defenders "who hunt the football." He was quick and detailed in his description because he'd taken the time to watch Takitaki in person.
Wolf had gone to the state of Utah on an early season scouting trip to check out Utah and Utah State, squeezing in a stop in Provo along the way because he couldn't find a reason not to. That's when he discovered Takitaki.
"I start watching the film and I think it was the Wisconsin game, the second game of the year, and this guy is just out there destroying people," Wolf recalled during a Thursday appearance on Cleveland Browns Daily. "I was like 'huh, I don't think this is going to be a wasted (scouting) trip at all.'"
Takitaki was a name not many knew off the top of their heads, which raised some eyebrows when the Browns spent the No. 80 pick on him. Wolf said that had to do with Takitaki's offseason transition from defensive end to linebacker. He simply wasn't quite on the national radar.
View photos of BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki, whom the Browns selected with the 80th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Takitaki's final season at BYU made him worth taking multiple looks at him, though. He improved throughout the campaign, Wolf said, and drew rave reviews from those associated with BYU.
"To a man, all the people you talked to, the academic people, the coaches, the pro liaison, to a man, this was all the guy they were just gushing about, the growth he had made in his life," Wolf said.
"It was one of those picks you make where everyone really liked the guy, but for some reason they just didn't seem to have him as high," he continued. "The draft in the last, I'll say 10 years, has really become a lot more about where you can get a guy because everyone's worried about what their local media's gonna say and national media, everyone's worried about that stuff. But we felt like we got a steal at the 80th pick with him."
Takitaki was one of seven selections made by the Browns and one of two linebackers who could find themselves filling rotational roles in Steve Wilks' defense. Alabama's Mack Wilson, a fifth-round selection, was the other. Takitaki was the second pick of Cleveland's class, one that was assembled in a room that also housed a visit from Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, Eliot's father.
"He'd be the first to tell you, when he was the GM he knew every player in the draft, every player in the league, wrote them all up," Wolf said of his dad. "Now, he feels like if he doesn't watch five game tapes on them he doesn't want to comment one way or the other. He watched some game film on some of our guys this week, Greedy (Williams) and Takitaki, and he liked them both. That's a win, Hall of Famer."
Not a bad review from a guy with a gold jacket.