Out of all the draft choices and free-agent signings the Seahawks have made, the trade for Quinton Dunbar is the biggest acquisition of the offseason.
We fret about the lack of a pass rush and wonder if Bruce Irvin and Benson Mayowa and Darrell Taylor and Alton Robinson will be enough to help a defense that recorded 28 sacks last year, but won’t Dunbar improve the pass rush by not even getting a sack himself? Won’t he improve the secondary so much that better coverage will lead to more quarterback hits and sacks for the Seahawks?
It’s strange how the NFL works when it comes to trades. It sure seems like Dunbar’s a guy with more value than a fifth-round draft pick, but that’s all it took to pry him away from Washington. Part of that had to do with his unhappiness there because he wanted a new contract.
And it’s pretty much a similar situation with safety Quandre Diggs, who was unhappy in Detroit, prompting a mid-season trade to the Seahawks for a fifth-round pick.
So for the loss of two fifth-round draft choices, the Seahawks are in a position to dramatically upgrade their secondary. We’ve already seen it with Diggs – in the five games he played, the Seahawks came up with takeaways in bunches, helping a subpar defense survive.
Now with the addition of Dunbar, the Seahawks could go from a more conservative approach of trying to keep everything in front of them to playing more aggressively.
Dunbar spoke with local reporters Thursday morning and said the Seahawks plan to use him at right cornerback. Based on his career with the Redskins, it’s assumed that Dunbar will replace Tre Flowers at that position when the Seahawks open their 2020 season at Atlanta.
You can also base that on recent history – Pro Football Focus rated Dunbar as the second-best cornerback in the league last year behind Richard Sherman.
He had four interceptions in 2019, which is one more than Seahawks left cornerback Shaquill Griffin has had in his career. I know the metrics show that Griffin is a good cornerback, but he has now gone 31 games without a pick, which makes me wonder about his long-term future.
It’s a future that could last only one more season. That’s because the Seahawks will have a decision to make at the end of the 2020 season. Dunbar and Griffin are playing out the last year of their contracts, and both will be in position to score big in free agency. The Seahawks probably won’t be able to afford to keep both players.
In the meantime, having both on the field at the same time will help this defense go from below average to average at least, maybe even above average. And the constant discussions about the lack of a pass rush might become more sporadic too.
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