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Quinton Dunbar Takes Next Step As NFL Corner

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With a need to fill at cornerback, the Redskins looked Quinton Dunbar's way on Tuesday, a rookie who made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback during training camp.

A little more than two months ago, Quinton Dunbar, a 6-foot-2, 201 pounder out of the University of Florida, was battling for a spot on either the 53-man roster or practice squad as a wide receiver.

Check out the entire Washington Redskins' 2015 53-man roster in photos. (Last updated Sept. 29, 2015)

But Dunbar was more than likely on the outside looking in of a positon battle that also included draft pick Evan Spencer and 2014 practice squad member Rashad Ross.

The coaches, however, were impressed with his build and skillset and saw potential in him as a cornerback. During his first practice with the defense, Dunbar participated in 1-on-1 drills and played "pretty dang good" according to Redskins head coach Jay Gruden, who continued to play Dunbar on defense for the remainder of the preseason.

On Tuesday, Dunbar, a member of the Redskins' practice squad, was called up to the active roster after veteran Justin Rogers was placed on Injured Reserve. Factor in the fact that DeAngelo Hall is expected to miss the next few weeks with a toe injury, and Dunbar could see quite a bit of action, beginning against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

Dunbar said he's ready for the opportunity.

"I feel like I worked hard to get to this point so it was pretty special to me," Dunbar told the media on Wednesday. "Hard work pays off."

Dunbar appeared in all four preseason games at his new position, which he hadn't played since high school, recording six tackles (five solo) and two passes defensed.

The rookie said there was "no doubt in my mind" that he'd be able to play in the NFL, it's just he didn't realize it was going to be this soon.

"I knew I could play ball, offense, defense, whatever," Dunbar said. "I felt like I'm a good enough athlete to do it. All it took was some time to get used to playing corner, learning the defense, and then I could start playing fast. So I had no doubt in my mind I could do it."

Even with limited time at the position, veteran safety Trenton Robinson said he thinks Dunbar "has something." 

"He's long and when he first started just playing corner, he uses his hands, he knows how to use his arms already, that length," Robinson said. "So, from there, it's just coaches coaching him up and working with him and every single day he works so hard. You watch him out there on the scout team, or wherever he's at. If he gets in at practice with the two group or whatever, he just goes hard and he's not scared." 

At Florida, Dunbar appeared in 49 games with 33 starts, hauling in 111 receptions for 1,500 yards and eight touchdowns.

With knowledge of what goes through a wide receiver's mind – whether it be route running or timing – Dunbar believes it helped jumpstart his move to the defensive side of the ball.

"I was a receiver; I know how a receiver thinks so that most definitely helped me out a lot," he said.

Regardless of where he'll play along the defense – if he does on Sunday – and what they ask of him on special teams, Dunbar said the Redskins are getting a guy that "just [loves] to compete."

"I'm going to go out there and compete every play, so that's what I bring," he said. "I'm competitive and with my athletic ability."

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