With the BYU football team is in a fiery tailspin, some fans may prefer to look at the NFL to satisfy their BYU football fix. Plenty of former Cougars are making splashes all around the league. In fact, there are few eras where former BYU players made a bigger, more wide-spread impact in the NFL than right now.
Sione Takitaki, LB, Cleveland Browns
The headliner among former Cougars came from an unexpected source this week. On Halloween night, the Cleveland Browns hosted the Cincinnati Bengals under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. The spookiest thing on the field on Hallow’s Eve was the Browns’ pass rush against Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. Part of that monster was former BYU linebacker Sione Takitaki.
Last night LB Sione Takitaki graded out as the FIFTH highest player for the #Browns according to @PFF:— Tyler Johnson (@T_johnson_TJ) November 1, 2022
88.8 overall grade
72.9 run grade
82.5 tackle grade
91.6 pass rush grade
It is time to EXTEND Sione Takitaki pic.twitter.com/yltHGbNvfe
It’s safe to say that Takitaki had a career night against the Bengals. He set a career high with 13 total tackles, with one tackle for loss, and his second career sack and second career forced fumble. He was truly one of the stars of the game in the Browns’ big win.
Fred Warner, LB, San Francisco 49ers
Takitaki was not the only former BYU linebacker making plays this weekend. Warner is considered to be one of the most complete interior linebackers in the NFL. He had his best game to date of the 2022 season this weekend. In the 49ers’ win over the Rams, Warner was constantly disrupting the Rams’ offense. He ended up with 12 total tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback hits, and his first full sack of the season.
Warner is well on his way to his fifth consecutive 100-plus tackle season to start his NFL career.
Taysom Hill, QB/TE, New Orleans Saints
Given how big of a year Hill has had, New Orleans’ Mr. Everything had a somewhat subdued outing in their shutout win over the Raiders. He ran 10 times for 61 yards and caught a pass for 11. He also completed a two-yard pass. It marked just the third time this season that Hill finished a game without being responsible for a touchdown.
Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
The Jets were seeing ghosts on this Halloween weekend against the Patriots. Zach Wilson made several mistakes that were akin to his rookie season in New York, throwing three interceptions in the process. The former second overall pick did manage to throw for a career-high 355 yards. However, it was mostly in garbage time after his mistakes led to the deficit. His performance left many wondering just how much he has progressed from his rookie campaign.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Detroit Lions
Quietly, Jamaal Williams has been one of the most productive running backs in the entire league. In Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins, BYU’s all-time leading rusher logged his fourth multi-touchdown game of the season. He ran for 53 yards, logged 23 yards receiving, and two rushing scores. He has now doubled his previous career high for rushing touchdowns in a season, with eight. That total is second in the whole league to Nick Chubb’s 10.
Tyler Allgeier, RB, Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons and Panthers engaged in one of the most dramatic games of the season thus far, with Atlanta winning 37-34 in overtime. BYU’s single-season rushing record holder did his part during the fireworks, giving the Falcons a 21-13 lead in the third quarter after a 25-yard touchdown reception, the first of his pro career.