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Redskins Training Camp: Time for unknowns to shine like diamonds

Which young player is going to step up and exceed expectations for the Redskins?

RICHMOND -- As safety DeAngelo Hall stood at the podium Monday, signing the praises of cornerback Quinton Dunbar among others, it got me thinking about the receiver-turned-cornerback's story.

An undrafted wide receiver, Dunbar was asked to switch positions early in camp last year. That typically means the team needs more bodies elsewhere, but you're not making the team so just help us out and thanks. Not only did Dunbar make the roster, but he played a integral part in the Redskins run to the NFC East division title. He went from afterthought to covering some of the best receivers in the league.

This kind of Cinderella story starts in training camp. This made me wonder the following: Where is the 2016 training camp darling?

Blasts from training camps past like Marko Mitchell, Colt Brennan and Marcus Mason immediately trigger the section of the brain reserved for optimism and hope. With first round pick Josh Doctson saddled with an Achilles injury, extra snaps at wide receiver exist so far in camp for guys like Maurice Harris, Valdez Showers, Dez Stewart, Kendal Thompson, TJ Thorpe, and Jarvis Turner, though none have really pulled away from the pack.

An opening at outside linebacker occurred recently when Junior Galette tore his Achilles for the second straight year. We are still waiting for Willie Jefferson or Lynden Trail to prove worthy of filling in. 

The idea of Washington adding a veteran running back remains a prominent topic largely because Mack Brown, Robert Kelley and Kelsey Young haven't stepped up to silence those thoughts, though seventh round runner Keith Marshall certainly intrigues. 

To quote the late Dennis Green, "They are who we thought they were!" At least, to this point they have been. Most of the positional battles have been from the usual suspects and are between the players predicted weeks ago. Of course, this is a marathon and not a sprint. Players only began practicing in pads Saturday. Tackling won't start happening for a while. The young players trying to impress have the rest of August including four preseason games to do just that. Still, a sense of urgency needs to be present. For some of these players, this might be their only chance to make this a career. The clock is ticking. As Rihanna would say, it's time to shine bright like a diamond.

Paul Conner is the Film Analyst and Draft Evaluator at Breaking Burgundy. You can follow him on Twitter @P_ConnerJr

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