Quinton Dunbar: ‘I wanted to go to Seattle’ and play for Seahawks
After seeing the worst pass defense that the Seahawks have had under head coach Pete Carroll since he took over in 2010, some felt change was necessary, either in personnel, coaching or scheme.
Well, the defensive coaching staff is primarily the same and Carroll’s teams have typically played the same style of defense for the last 10 years, so that leaves personnel.
The Seahawks have only signed one outside free agent on the defensive side of the ball – former Seattle first-round pick Bruce Irvin – but they made a seemingly big trade Monday, acquiring cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the Washington Redskins for a fifth-round pick.
Dunbar, 27, is the typical Pete Carroll cornerback: tall (6’2), lanky (32-inch-plus arms) and fast (4.44 40-yard dash). He’s also a former receiver, like the best corner in franchise history, Richard Sherman. Unlike Sherman, Dunbar didn’t make the move to defense until he was already in the NFL.
“It definitely wasn’t an easy transition,” Dunbar told 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant.
It started when he was on punt return duty during training camp as an undrafted rookie free agent. He was on the outside, tasked with blocking and defending opposing teams’ gunners.
“Guys just couldn’t get off my press and the head coach at the time, Jay Gruden, said he liked what he saw,” Dunbar explained. “The next practice, he put me in on one-on-ones (at corner) and it went pretty good and that’s all she wrote on that”
Dunbar has played in 58 games in five years, starting 25 of them. He became a full-time starter in 2018 after being Washington’s third corner for a few seasons. His best year was last year, where in 11 games he recorded four of his nine career interceptions. He was Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked corner in the NFL for 2019.
Now in a new environment after the trade, Dunbar is ready for a new beginning.
“I was kind of surprised at first (of the trade), but it’s a great situation for me, so I’m glad to be here,” he said. “I feel like I’m right with those guys in my mentality and I just want to come in and play ball and help the team any way I can.”
Dunbar’s best trait, he said, is his competitiveness, which helped him a lot in his move from receiver to cornerback.
“I just love to compete and I love to compete against guys,” he said. “And (I have) faith and believe in myself. That helped me out a lot and then I had guys in the (defensive back room in Washington) like Deangelo Hall who played a lot of ball in the NFL and was an elite cornerback and other guys in that room helped me with that transition.”
The Seahawks for a long time had arguably the best secondary of all time, the Legion of Boom, that Sherman starred in alongside safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor. Dunbar said he watched them play a lot, and focused especially on Sherman.
“Man, I know everything about them. I grew up, I was still in college watching those guys,” Dunbar said. “I wasn’t a DB at the time, but the Legion of Boom, watching Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman, who, when I made that transition, I watched a lot of film on Richard Sherman and things of that nature. I know they’ve got great history there and I’m just looking forward to being part of that secondary and helping out all I can.”
While it’s easy to see similarities between Dunbar and Sherman because of their history as receivers as well as similar body types, Dunbar wants to be seen as his own man, though he has picked up a lot from watching Sherman’s tape.
“I respect Richard Sherman. I feel like he’s been one of the best in the game for a while, but I’m not Richard Sherman, I’m Quinton Dunbar,” he said. “When making that transition, I watched a lot of his film and I’m not new to some of the thing that they do in Seattle, which I already implement in my game with the step-kick and stuff like that.”
Dunbar is entering the final year of his contract and there were rumors that he was unhappy with the deal and negotiations, which helped lead to his trade. He said the tension had to do with respect, and thinks that won’t be an issue with the Seahawks.
“Before the trade was (finished) I had opportunities with a couple of teams but I wanted to go to Seattle,” Dunbar said. “At the end of the day, I feel like it’s a perfect situation for me to go play for a team that competes for championships every year. I’m just looking forward to that and everything will take care of itself. I just wanted a new beginning, and I’m just going to go out there help Seattle whichever way I can.”
Listen to the full interview at this link or in the player below.
Want more conversations like this? Subscribe to the Danny and Gallant podcast by clicking any of the links below:
More Seahawks offseason coverage
• Bumpus: Dunbar should fare better than other CBs in move to Seahawks
• Moore: Ranking the Seahawks’ 8 offseason acquisitions
• Signing of Phillip Dorsett has more meaning than just addressing a need
• Seahawks ahead of the curve with way coaching is trending in NFL
• 2020 offseason tracker: Signings, departures and more