It's been less than a year since Quinton Dunbar switched from receiver to corner, but he feels he's already made major strides since the end of last season.
When Quinton Dunbar made the switch from wide receiver to cornerback last year in training camp, he didn't have time to learn the techniques and the complexities of his new position. Head coach Jay Gruden liked his measurables and thought they might translate to defense. So Dunbar relied on his athleticism and instincts, which, as it turned out, were enough to play considerably well in an NFL secondary.
His first season was highlighted by an interception against New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning in Week 12, which also included a pass defensed and the belief that he could make a name for himself as a defensive player.
He finished with 12 tackles and saved his best performance for the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card playoff game, combining for five tackles and two passes defensed while only allowing 41 yards on seven receptions, according to Pro Football Focus.
It's still been less than a year since Dunbar switched to cornerback, but his first offseason at the position, let alone as an NFL player, has already made a difference in his confidence there. He says he's been more comfortable each day during OTAs and is getting a better grasp of the defense and its intricacies, knowing where his "help," the extra defenders behind and next to him, will be at all times.
"I'd say the main difference from last year was I was really just going out there competing and I just wanted to play man," Dunbar said. "Now, I don't mind playing man or zone because I feel like I'm getting better in each one of them."
That Josh Norman is now with the team has only helped Dunbar's learning process. He's not afraid to ask him questions and pick his brain, knowing that when an elite corner offers insight, it's wise to take it.
"I've got no choice but to gravitate to him," Dunbar said. "He plays left corner and I play right behind him at the left corner spot. So I definitely watch his every move and ask him why he does this and does things like that."
But learning can be found from just about every cornerback. Rookie Kendall Fuller might be new to the NFL, but not at his position. Dunbar has no problem asking someone younger, but more experienced, about the nuances of cornerback, and he reciprocates with anything he can provide.
So far, Dunbar doesn't put much stock into the fact that he's looked sharp on the field, which included a couple interceptions during the first week of OTAs. Everything is a process, taking his skills and mentality as a wide receiver and using them to his advantage on the opposite side of the ball.
"The thing about Quinton is he really worked at it and he listened to what you said and took what you said to heart and he worked every day at his craft," defensive backs coach Perry Fewell said in March. "And if you have a player that has talent and has a skillset that works at his craft, he'll get better and better."
"I've got confidence in myself and my abilities," Dunbar said. "I know what I can do. I know I come out here and compete every day. The picks are just a bonus from all the hard work and what I do."