Jamar Taylor's respect for Briean Boddy-Calhoun was immediate and grew with each passing day of the 2016 season.
Boddy-Calhoun's "underdog mentality" and dogged work ethic reminded Taylor of himself and inspired him to invite the first-year defensive back to train with him during the offseason. Boddy-Calhoun understandably pounced on the opportunity, and both said they're better off because of it.
"When you have somebody on your team that works just as hard as you, it's easy to just click with those guys," Taylor said. "He's one of those guys that when he arrived here last year he was late in the film room with me every night and in the week. We put in strenuous hours.
"When I see a guy like that, I say I want to work with them."
Boddy-Calhoun, an undrafted rookie from Minnesota whom the Browns claimed off waivers one week before the start of the season, was a quick study during his first NFL season. With his head still swimming as he learned a new defense, Boddy-Calhoun made his professional debut Week 3 against the Dolphins and left Miami with his first career pick-six. He finished out the season with significant appearances in the rest of the games, including six starts, and was among the team leaders with three interceptions.
The defense he learned on the fly and through all of those late nights with Taylor is a thing of the past. With new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams at the helm, Boddy-Calhoun is getting used to a whole new set of formations and terminology, but the transition isn't as daunting.
Boddy-Calhoun has time and experience on his side as he works to earn a regular role in Cleveland's revamped secondary.
"It allowed me to have a lot of tape out there, a lot of tape to grade over the offseason, a lot of mistakes to correct coming back from a year or two," Boddy-Calhoun said. "Most guys don't get to play their rookie year that much so they're making those rookie mistakes in Year 2 or Year 3 whereas I got all mine out in my first year. I've got a lot of tape to clean up, had a lot of things to look over in the offseason, which was a good thing.
"I'm not going to say I feel like a veteran but I don't feel like a rookie."
Take a look at the Cleveland Browns roster as of September 1, 2017.
Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Boddy-Calhoun worked with the second-team defense at one of the outside cornerback spots. The Browns are expected to play in a number of formations that include more than two cornerbacks, and Boddy-Calhoun is right in the mix to earn major snaps alongside veterans such as Joe Haden, Taylor and Jason McCourty.
Williams said last week each member of his defense would be tasked to learn multiple positions. Boddy-Calhoun certainly didn't need any encouraging and hopes to give Williams plenty of reasons to play him as both an outside cornerback or nickel.
"The more things you can do, the more plays you allow for yourself, the more opportunities you make for yourself," Boddy-Calhoun said. "If you're a kick returner, punt returner, outside corner, inside corner, that's four or five spots you can make. Just being able to play more things gives you a better opportunity."
There aren't many opportunities Boddy-Calhoun lets pass by, and it started the moment his rookie season came to a close.
"The kid is really smart. There's not too many guys that come in as rookies that are as mature as he is," Taylor said. "He's a film junkie, he loves football. A guy like that, it's just easy to gravitate to for a guy like me. When you're the underdog, a lot of people don't want to see you succeed. He kind of has that mentality."