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Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar
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Blackmon: New Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar’s mindset ‘fits the Seattle mold’

New Seahawks CB Quinton Dunbar had four interceptions in 11 games last season. (AP)

A few things stand out about the Seattle Seahawks’ defense from 2019.

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First is the lack of sacks, which is where most of the attention has been this offseason, whether it’s been speculation of who the Seahawks could sign or news of additions, like on Wednesday when they agreed to terms with pass rusher Benson Mayowa.

Perhaps just as important but not as present in the minds of fans is the fact that Seattle allowed 263.9 passing yards per game, better than only five other teams in the NFL. That contributed to the 381.6 total yards of offense given up per game by the Seahawks, which was better than only six other teams in the league.

Seattle did something to address that problem earlier in the offseason by trading a draft pick to Washington for cornerback Quinton Dunbar, who had the second-best Pro Football Focus rating among all players at his position last season. A former teammate of Dunbar’s in the Washington secondary, current NFL analyst Will Blackmon, talked to 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny and Gallant about what Dunbar will bring to the Seahawks.

A college wide receiver who went undrafted, Dunbar found his place playing on defense, something Blackmon said was evident from the start.

“The first thing that stood out to me was when he finally went on the field as a rookie, he’s lining up against Dez Bryant, he’s lining up against Sammy Watkins when he was in Buffalo, he’s lining up across Odell (Beckham Jr.),” said Blackmon, who played alongside Dunbar in 2015 and 2016. “He was extremely fearless and he didn’t care who was who. He looked at is as ‘I’m going to go compete and make it happen,’ and his mindset is exactly what fits the Seattle mold.”

Blackmon would know what the Seattle mold is, too. He spent time with the Seahawks in 2013 and 2015 during training camp and the preseason.

Dunbar’s experience as a wide receiver has contributed to his rise up the ranks as a corner, Blackmon explained.

“The cool thing about Dunbar is him being able to locate the ball because he played receiver,” he said. “I would say I can relate because my first three years at Boston College, I played defensive back and then made the switch, becoming the full-time ‘X’ receiver my senior year, so I understand (transitioning between offense and defense). … He made a really cool interception against the Giants in 2016, a one-hander in the front of the end zone versus cover-zero.”

Blackmon indicated that the Seahawks could see an uptick in takeaways next season with Dunbar, who had four interceptions in 2019, just two short of the league lead even though he missed five games. That has the potential of making a big difference with the offense Seattle is putting together.

“If they can have the awareness like Earl (Thomas) did and Sherm (Richard Sherman) and all those guys from the 2013 team and they can have the awareness to get the ball out, that’s going to pay dividends,” Blackmon said. “You have Russell (Wilson) at quarterback, (Chris) Carson who ran for 1,000 yards, then DK (Metcalf) who the sky is still the limit (for) and Tyler (Lockett) played very, very well … and then you’ve got (Greg) Olsen coming over. It’s looking bright if they can keep getting turnovers. … It’s important. The more possessions you can give Russell Wilson, the better.”

You can listen to the full interview with Blackmon at this link or in the player embedded below.

Follow 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant on Twitter.

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