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Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Sione Takitaki (16) celebrates a stop against the California Golden Bears in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 (Jeff Allred, Deseret News)
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Sione Takitaki Starts In First Cleveland Browns Preseason Game

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Sione Takitaki (16) celebrates a stop against the California Golden Bears in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 (Jeff Allred, Deseret News)

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland Browns rookie and former BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki started in his first NFL action as a rookie.

Takitaki, who was selected by the Browns with a third-round selection (No. 80 overall) in this past April’s NFL Draft, was tabbed as the starter at mike linebacker for Cleveland in their preseason opener against the Washington Redskins.

The Browns projected starter for the upcoming regular season is still fourth-year veteran Joe Schobert who missed Thursday’s preseason contest due to personal reasons.

Last season at BYU, Takitaki piled up 119 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and four sacks in his senior year in Provo.  Over the span of his entire career with the Cougars, Takitaki had 241 tackles, 33.5 tackles for loss, and 15.5 sacks.

Takitaki’s draft stock started to rise after an excellent performance at the Draft Combine in Indianapolis.  The Fontana, California native ran a 4.63 40-yard dash and had a 37-inch vertical jump.

The Browns viewed Takitaki in high regard selecting him as their second pick in the draft, only behind second-round selection Greedy Williams from LSU.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.