It wasn't that long ago that Jamar Taylor was a key figure Boise State's rise from obscurity to one of college football's top programs under former coach Chris Pedersen. The Browns cornerback and former Miami Dolphin was an All-Mountain West selection and considered one of the most gifted players coming out of the school in 2013.
And as the Browns prepare for their fifth day of training camp, Taylor — who was acquired in a trade with Miami this past spring — said Cleveland reminds him of his playing days out west.
"It was kind of like here. When you think about Boise State or when I think about Cleveland, it was just a blue-collar town. Everybody is just hard-working, everybody gets after it, everybody doesn't want things handed to them," Taylor said Monday on Cleveland Browns Daily.
"(Boise), like I said, kind of reminds me of here. My teammates were the same way, the players were the same way, and that's the same way it is here. Everybody wants to win, everybody wants to compete to win, everybody works hard."
It's an approach that has served the Browns well so far under first-year head coach Hue Jackson, who has brought energy and a sense of urgency to Berea over the last seven months.
Taylor, who enters his fourth NFL season after three years of highs and lows in South Florida, has embraced that dynamic and welcomed what hedescribed in June as a “fresh start" in Northeast Ohio.
"I felt just real blessed, kind of like God answered my prayers and I was just real happy," Taylor said. "Coach Hue called me, Sashi (Brown) called me, told me the news and welcomed me and told me let's get to work on Monday. Everything was like a whirlwind but everybody welcomed me with open arms."
Take a look at the fourth day of Browns Training Camp in Berea.
Taylor has made the most of his time so far, earning significant reps on a new-look secondary that will continue to take shape over the next month. On Saturday, he looked particularly impressive, breaking up a handful of passes and shadowing receivers up and down the field.
"He's very talented. I've known Jamar from the past when he was coming out and the guy was a second-round draft pick," Jackson said. "Sometimes guys get drafted in places where maybe the environment's just not right for them, so he's getting another opportunity and I think he's let the past go and I think he's walked in and said, 'Hey, I want a job.'"
Taylor, who impressed teams at the combine with his speed and explosive nature, started nine games in three seasons with the Dolphins, including six last season, when he totaled 48 tackles and four pass breakups in 2015.
"He's competing every day and I think he's tenacious, he's tough, he's sudden, he's fast," Jackson said. "So we have another good player to put back there in the mix for our football team."
Taylor, who has seen time at cornerback and at nickel lately, said he doesn't mind where the Browns think he best fits on the defense.
"As long as I'm the field, I really don't care," he said. "I just want to make plays for my team."