The Cleveland Browns invested heavily in the defensive secondary in the offseason in a bid to improve a unit that was the weakest point on defense in 2017.
While most of the attention will be on cornerback Denzel Ward and safety Jabrill Pepper, first-round picks in the past two NFL Drafts, it is the versatility of one player that may help the secondary take a step forward.
Briean Boddy-Calhoun has been one of the team’s best players in the secondary since joining the Browns in 2016. He was good enough last season as a nickel cornerback to earn an overall grade of 84.1 from Pro Football Focus, which also credited Boddy-Calhoun with allowing just 0.46 yards per cover snap, the second-best figure in the league.
Defensive backs/safeties coach Jerod Kruse said on Tuesday that while the Browns are happy with the work that Boddy-Calhoun has done from the nickel spot, they will not be shy about moving him around in the secondary, according to clevelandbrowns.com:
“He has a big picture awareness of ball. At the end of the day, you would like all of the guys to have an understanding of the entire system, defense, positioning and how those pieces fit together. That is something that he has and has at a high level. He is kind of a plug-and-play guy. He has that broad skill set that allows him to do a lot of things and be proficient at a lot of things.
“That is where you see us using him in those situations last year playing corner and some safety in nickel, and this year, he has been playing a little less corner but a little more safety as a change out there. It is a pleasure to have those guys because they give you the ability to be dynamic in your game planning.”
If all the pieces come together this season for the secondary, the Browns defense is going to be very fun to watch.
And no matter where he lines up, expect Boddy-Calhoun to be right in the middle of it all.