With training camp set to begin later this month, Redskins.com previews the current state of the Redskins' roster, continuing today with the team's cornerbacks.
The Washington Redskins head to training camp at the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center with a talented, young cornerbacks group that is now topped by All-Pro Josh Norman, who unexpectedly hit the free agent market in April.
Before the Redskins head to Richmond for training camp, check out who all is on the roster position-by-position. Today, it is the Cornerbacks
ROSTER SUBTRACTION(S): - **Chris Culliver (Free Agent)
- Cary Williams (Free Agent)
- Al Louis-Jean (Free Agent)
-* *Josh Norman (Free Agent; Signed From Carolina)
- Kendall Fuller (Drafted In Third Round)
- Greg Toler (Free Agent; Signed From Indianapolis)
- Mariel Cooper (College Free Agent From The Citadel)
- Lloyd Carrington (College Free Agent From Arizona State)
CURRENT STATE OF THE UNIT:
Josh Norman was once again expected to headline a Carolina Panthers defense that bullied its way to a Super Bowl 50 appearance. But in a shocking move in mid-April, when most teams were fully focused on the NFL Draft, the Panthers rescinded Norman's franchise tag instantly making him a free agent.
Before any other team could pounce on the opportunity to bring Norman in, the Redskins signed the Coastal Carolina product to a long-term deal just two days after hitting the open market.
Norman, 28, had a career year during the 2015 season, recording career highs in interceptions (four), forced fumbles (three) and fumbles recovered (two) in addition to tying for the league lead in interceptions returned for touchdowns (two).
His highly decorated 2015 campaign resulted in a myriad of honors, including All-Pro selections from both the Associated Press and Pro Football Writers Association in addition to sharing PFWA Co-Most Improved Player of the Year honors with Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Expected to be paired with Norman in the starting lineup is Bashaud Breeland, who is entering his third season in Washington after being selected by the Redskins in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Despite being thrust into a heavy workload early in his rookie season, Breeland thrived, highlighted by a shutdown performance against All-Pro wide receiver Dez Bryant in a Monday Night Football matchup.
Breeland was named to Gil Brandt's All-Rookie Team before continuing his upwards growth last year, collecting a career-high 81 tackles along with three forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Also contributing significantly during the 2015 season was Quinton Dunbar.
A wide receiver out of the University of Florida, Dunbar made a transition over to the defensive side of the football during last year's training camp and didn't look back.
Aided by a 6-foot-2, 203-pound frame, Dunbar appeared in 11 games at cornerback as a rookie, collecting 13 tackles along with an interception off of New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning.
Also returning this season is Dashaun Phillips, who originally signed with the Redskins' practice squad before being bumped up to the active roster in Week 12.
Phillips would appear in six regular season games along with Washington's playoff game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Redskins also added three rookies to the group this offseason, starting with the selection of Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller in the third round of the NFL Draft.
Fuller appeared in 29 games for the Hokies, compiling 119 career tackles (73 solo, 8.0 for loss), 27 pass breakups, eight interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), two forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered. Fuller earned second-team All-American honors from the Football Writers Association of America along with being named the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year during his freshman season.
The 5-foot-11, 196 pounder was expected to be one of the top cornerbacks in all of college football during the 2015 season, but his campaign was cut short after just three games due to a torn ACL.
The Redskins also signed college free agents Lloyd Carrington and Mariel Cooper shortly after the NFL Draft.
WHAT TO WATCH:While Norman proved last season that he has the talent to be one of the NFL's elite cornerbacks, he's transitioning to a new defense with new terminology. Richmond will allow him ample time to nail down everything entering a regular season that starts with matchups against wide receivers Antonio Bryant, Dez Bryant and Odell Beckham Jr.
Training camp will also give the team an opportunity to nail down the top nickel cornerback.
With Fuller sidelined throughout most of the offseason, Phillips took first-team reps and impressed the coaching staff.
"He jumped on that nickel spot and he's not getting loose for anybody," Redskins defensive backs coach Perry Fewell said. "And that's what competition is all about. Now when we go into the fall it'll be a battle, but right now he's secured that position."
The two will continue to battle for reps at the position while Fuller hopes to contribute in some capacity as a rookie.
After making a position change halfway through training camp last season, Richmond will be a progress test for Dunbar after a complete offseason to hone his skills.
"He just gets better and better each and every day and you can see that transpire," Norman said. "I just want to help him as much as I possibly can. And all the other guys coming up making big plays and doing things, I'm here to help them just as much as they're here to help me. Because I can always learn from younger guys as much as they can from me."
Also keep an eye on Greg Toler, who's signing was overshadowed by the addition of Norman. Toler is a veteran who has previous starting experience with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts and could be a versatile asset in Washington.
REDSKINS IN RICHMOND:
--7/6: Nose Tackles
--7/7: Running Backs
--7/8: Defensive Ends
--7/12: Inside Linebackers
--7/13: Tight Ends
--[7/14: Outside Linebackers
](REDSKINS IN RICHMOND: --7/5: Quarterbacks --7/6: Nose Tackles --7/7: Running Backs --7/8: Defensive Ends --7/12: Inside Linebackers --7/13: Tight Ends )--7/15: Offensive Tackles