DANNY AND GALLANT
Bumpus: Dunbar should fare better than other CBs in move to Seahawks
The Seahawks may have gotten a steal in their most recent trade, acquiring well-regarded cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Washington Redskins in exchange for the fifth-round draft pick they received from the Pittsburgh Steelers early in the regular season for backup tight end Nick Vannett.
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Dunbar checks off seemingly all the boxes that head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider look for in their cornerbacks. He’s 6’2, has a 40-yard dash time around 4.4 seconds and, of course, has arms that are longer than 32 inches.
While Dunbar hits all those marks, he has yet to play in Carroll’s system. The cornerbacks that have had the most success in Seattle under Carroll have been drafted and molded by Carroll and his staff, and outside additions, such as Cary Williams, have often struggled to fit in.
Williams, some may remember, signed a three-year deal worth up to $18 million ($7 million guaranteed) in the 2015 offseason. Near the end of the 2015 season he lost the starting job to DeShawn Shead and the Seahawks released him before the season was over.
Michael Bumpus, a former NFL receiver for the Seahawks, joined 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant and said he expects Dunbar to come in and play well unlike other cornerbacks who joined Seattle from other teams.
“The great thing about coming in as a corner is that there’s only so many things that a defense is going to have to teach,” Bumpus said. “They’re going to have to ask you to cover deep zones, to cover the flat, they’re going to ask you to play man – there’s not too many things that they’re going to ask a corner to do in one defense that is so much different than another defense.”
The Seahawks play a lot of cover-3 defense, where the two cornerbacks and one of the two safeties essentially divide the deep part of the field into thirds and each covers one of those zones. One of the main goals of that defense is to prevent explosive plays and keep everything in front of the defense. While in Washington, Dunbar played a lot of man-to-man defense, which Bumpus said will help in his move to the Seahawks.
“If you get a corner who’s good at man, you can put him in zone and you should feel fine,” he said. “If it was the other way around and you’re bringing in a corner who just plays cover-2, now you’re asking him to play cover-3 … then, you know, there would be some questions there.”
Dunbar, 27, just finished his fifth NFL season and is on the final year of his current contract. He was a receiver in college at Florida and went undrafted. He transitioned to cornerback after excelling on special teams. He’s made 25 starts in five seasons and started 11 games in 2019, his best as a pro thus far, starting 11 games and intercepting four passes. He was Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked cornerback in the NFL last year.
Bumpus said he watched some of Dunbar’s film after the trade was reported and came away impressed, calling Dunbar a “baller.”
“When you look at Dunbar, look at the way he plays the ball. He’s always on the receiver’s hip,” Bumpus said. “He’s good to go. He had four picks last year – two in one game. I don’t think it’s going to be a big transition.”
The biggest transition for Dunbar may not be on the field, but off of it. He’s joining a defense that’s had the same two starting cornerbacks for two seasons and he’s expected to be fighting for a starting spot.
“This guy’s coming in to essentially take someone’s spot, and I think we all know who I’m talking about. It’s Tre Flowers over there,” Bumpus said. “I think the biggest challenge is going to be being able to walk into that (defensive backs) room and just get used to the guys. Those guys have been in battle together.”
Flowers, who just finished his second season, has flashed at times, but he struggled down the stretch and had issues with unnecessary holding and defensive pass interference penalties. On the other side of the field, Shaquill Griffin had his best season as a pro in his third year and was a Pro Bowler, so it’s far more likely Dunbar will be fighting to take over for Flowers.
“He’s coming to take somebody’s spot, so there’s going to be competition, but that’s what we expect out of the Seahawks,” Bumpus said. “It’s all going to be about who’s going to make the plays and who’s going to make them early and often.”
Listen to the full discussion at this link or in the player below.
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