In the coming weeks, Redskins Insider Tarik El-Bashir will take a look at the team’s rookies, grade their 2015 season and examine their future prospects.
Today, we’re evaluating cornerback Quinton Dunbar.
Drafted: College free agent
Stats: 13 tackles, 1 interception and 5 passes defended
2015: By now everyone knows the story of Dunbar’s improbable journey from undrafted free agent wide receiver to a regular in the Redskins’ secondary.
By the second half of the season, injuries to key veterans had forced him into a significant role. In fact, he ranked among the most relied upon Redskins from Week 12-16, often playing 50-80 percent of the defensive snaps while also contributing on special teams. (He missed the regular season finale in Dallas with a quadriceps injury).
The highlight of Dunbar’s season came in the Redskins’ pivotal 20-14 win over the Giants in November. Not only did he knock away two passes, he also intercepted Eli Manning in the end zone to preserve a 17-0 second half lead. In that game, Dunbar also suffered a gruesome finger injury but was in the lineup a week later vs. the Cowboys.
Dunbar also had a strong performance In the playoff loss to the Packers, recording a career-high five tackles to go along with two defended passes.
In 11 games, Dunbar played 267 snaps—the third highest total for a rookie on defense (behind Kyshoen Jarrett and Preston Smith). Dunbar allowed only one touchdown in his coverage, according to ProFootballFocus.com, and was also flagged just once for interference.
Future prospects: The Florida product boasts great measurable to thrive in today’s game. He’s a rangy 6 foot 2, 201-pounds. He’s also a fluid athlete with impressive speed and good hands. And it doesn’t hurt that he’s a former receiver.
The 23-year-old laid a solid foundation to build upon as a rookie. His biggest concern should be getting lost in the shuffle this offseason as GM Scot McCloughan retools the secondary. The Redskins allowed 30 passing touchdowns last season (22nd) and McCloughan is expected to make significant changes at safety and corner. And with free agency and the draft still weeks away, it’s difficult to assess exactly where Dunbar fits.
But we do know this: last season, he got an opportunity because the secondary was decimated by injuries. If he's going play a significant role in 2016, it's going to be because he earned it with a solid offseason.
Previous rookie reviews: