Redskins cornerback Quinton Dunbar has flown under the radar since entering the NFL in 2015.
He joined the team as an undrafted rookie wide receiver out of Florida, only to change positions during training camp in hopes of playing more. He began his pro career on the practice squad, then made the active roster as the fifth cornerback and moved his way up to the No. 3 corner after his rookie campaign.
Finally, before the 2018 season, he earned the starting job opposite Josh Norman. But even then, he played in just seven games before landing on Injured Reserve with a leg injury.
"It's just staying healthy," Dunbar explained. "I had two picks and nine [pass breakups] in seven games before I [got injured]. ...That's pretty much it. Just being out there. When I'm out there, I'm able to compete and perform."
It's hard to argue with Dunbar's logic, especially considering the way he's showed out this season. Fully healthy, Dunbar is playing like one of the NFL's best cornerbacks and is more than deserving of making his first-ever Pro Bowl appearance. Vote Dunbar to the 2020 Pro Bowl by visiting http://www.nfl.com/probowl/ballot. Then check out the statistics below and vote again.
"He's good at what he does," rookie corner Jimmy Moreland said. "He knows the position very well, and he played the receiver position, so he knows what to expect. So that's why he's turning out to be one of the best cornerbacks right now."
Dunbar has been the Redskins' No. 1 defensive back throughout his fifth NFL season. He's corralled a career-high four interceptions, which ranks tied for second in the NFL, and has broken up eight passes to go along with 37 tackles (31 solo).
Teammates describe Dunbar as a film geek with a knack for the football and an exceptional communicator. "When we're on the field, he talks so much," linebacker Cole Holcolmb said. "So that's somebody that studies his butt off. It's like he knows what routes are coming, what combinations are coming."
However, to understand Dunbar's true impact requires looking at the advanced statistics. According to the NFL analytics website Pro Football Focus, Dunbar was the highest-graded cornerback overall and in coverage through 12 weeks. When opposing quarterbacks threw his way, they had a quarterback rating of 44.9, which was fifth best in the league.
"He studies film unlike anyone I have ever seen," said defensive lineman Matt Ioannidis, himself a prime Pro Bowl candidate. "I just always see him with his iPad and his clicker, scrolling through tape. Just really smart on the back end."
Perhaps Dunbar's biggest play this season came late in the fourth quarter against Detroit on Nov. 24. With the game tied at 16 with less than a minute to play, Dunbar stepped in front of quarterback Jeff Driskel's pass for an interception near midfield. Just a few plays later, Dustin Hopkins' field goal all but sealed a Redskins victory.
It's one of the many times Dunbar has made a play for this defense when necessary, and it's about time he is recognized for his contributions. (Join the cause by voting Dunbar to the Pro Bowl, HERE.)