Signed as a college free agent wide receiver, Quinton Dunbar on Friday formally switched to cornerback after a rash of injuries at the position for the Redskins.*
Two days ago, Quinton Dunbar looked out of place on the far practice field at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va., where his white No. 17 practice jersey stuck out like a sore thumb among the other burgundy practice jerseys around him.
At the time, Dunbar, a wide receiver, was going through a few drills with the defensive backs, as coach Perry Fewell and defensive coordinator Joe Barry looked for options after injuries plagued the cornerback position for the Redskins.
They must've liked what they saw, because on Friday when Dunbar emerged for practice, he was wearing his own burgundy No. 17 practice jersey, signifying a switch to the defensive side of the ball.
"We put him out there on 1-on-1s on receivers and he played pretty dang good," Redskins head coach Jay Gruden said of Dunbar's switch to cornerback. "We decided to give him a chance and he was up for it."
Dunbar signed with the Redskins in May as an undrafted wide receiver out of Florida. Always a weapon catching the ball growing up -- he was a four-star recruit coming out of high school -- Dunbar caught 111 passes for 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns in his time with the Gators.
Like most rookies, however, Dunbar knew his best chance to make the Redskins' roster would be through his special teams play. The 6 foot 1, 201 pounder impressed the staff with his play especially on the punt team, blocking the flyers like a cornerback would play press coverage.
So, with injuries to the team's top four cornerbacks -- Chris Culliver, DeAngelo Hall, Bashaud Breeland and David Amerson -- the Redskins decided to take a chance on Dunbar on defense.
"They've seen me in some of the periods jam a few guys up, and they get excited about it," Dunbar said after Friday's practice. "The coaches see the potential, so I'm all for it."
Dunbar last played cornerback in high school, so Gruden is quick to point out that he has "a ways to go" to be completely caught up at the position. But Dunbar said the readjustment hasn't been as difficult as he first imagined.
The Washington Redskins conducted their eighth day of training camp practice on Friday, August 7, 2015, at Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center in Richmond, Va.
He actually thinks of himself as one step ahead of the game, even before the ball is snapped.
"I know the mentality [of a wide receiver]," Dunbar said. "I know when you're a D-back you've got to stay patient, because the receiver tries to get you off the landmark. So, [the transition is] kind of easy right now."
With Culliver, Hall and Amerson due back at any time from minor injuries -- and with Breeland expected to fully recover from a sprained MCL by Week 2 of the regular season -- Dunbar could see a change back to the white No. 17 practice jersey and his familiar wide receiver position.
But, for now, the team is impressed with Dunbar's versatility, athleticism and total knowledge of the game.
"He's got the measurables to be a pretty dang good corner," Gruden said. "So we'll see."