NFL

Every NFL Team’s Most Heated Positional Battle

Every NFL Team's Most Heated Positional Battle

NFL Position Battles
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Each NFL team is loaded with positional battles along their depth chart. OTAs and training camp are designed to weed out the weak and decide who make up the best 53-man roster each team can configure. Some may make it and others may have their dreams pulled out from underneath their feet.

Let's take a look at every NFL team's most heated positional battle this offseason:

Arizona Cardinals: TE Niklas vs. Ballard vs. Carlson vs. Housler

Jake Ballard
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Arizona Cardinals: TE Niklas vs. Ballard vs. Carlson vs. Housler

Jake Ballard
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The Arizona Cardinals selected TE Troy Niklas in the 2014 NFL Draft this past May and while they may have added to their depth, they have created a pretty murky situation on the depth chart. With Jake Ballard, Rob Housler and John Carlson all on the roster, each player will have to vie for their spot on the 53-man squad. The final spot may come down to a battle between Carlson and Housler, which should be Housler's job to lose.

Atlanta Falcons: RB Jackson vs. Rodgers vs. Freeman

Steven Jackson
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Atlanta Falcons: RB Jackson vs. Rodgers vs. Freeman

Steven Jackson
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The Atlanta Falcons have a ton of talent at the running back position now with FSU RB Devonta Freeman in town along with Jacquizz Rodgers and Steven Jackson. The latter's time is beginning to come to an end, which paves the road for either Rodgers or Freeman to begin to work in with the first-string offense. Rodgers saw much of the work last season with Jackson injured, but do not sleep on the talented RB from FSU.

Baltimore Ravens: RB Rice vs. Pierce vs. Forsett

Bernard Pierce
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Baltimore Ravens: RB Rice vs. Pierce vs. Forsett

Bernard Pierce
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The Baltimore Ravens have quite a good running back stable on their hands with Ray Rice, Bernard Pierce and Justin Forsett, who has seen the bulk of the first-team snaps at OTAs thus far. Don't get caught up in the Forsett hype, however; this is a two-man battle between Pierce and Rice. While Rice is the better back on the team, do not sleep on Pierce this season. He is a great back and could start to see his workload increase more so than ever.

Buffalo Bills: No. 2 WR Easley vs. Goodwin vs. Williams vs. Woods vs. Graham

Robert Woods
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Buffalo Bills: No. 2 WR Easley vs. Goodwin vs. Williams vs. Woods vs. Graham

Robert Woods
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The Buffalo Bills have traded away long-time Bills WR Stevie Johnson and have entrenched first-round pick Sammy Watkins as the No. 1 receiver. But who fills in as the No. 2 receiver is anyone's guess. Marqise Goodwin and Robert Woods work better in the slot, but Woods could see some time as the No. 2 man. Marcus Easley and T.J. Graham are two guys I am high on. Add in Mike Williams, the former Bucs' WR, and it's anyone's guess.

Carolina Panthers: WR Benjamin vs. Avant vs. Cotchery vs. Underwood

Kelvin Benjamin
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Carolina Panthers: WR Benjamin vs. Avant vs. Cotchery vs. Underwood

Kelvin Benjamin
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The Carolina Panthers seemingly let every single receiver they could walk out of town this offseason and left QB Cameron Newton with a rookie, an underachiever and two possession receivers. Kelvin Benjamin will likely work as the team's No. 1 target offensively. Therefore, a battle between Jason Avant and Jericho Cotchery for the No. 2 spot will be fun to watch. Tiquan Underwood will likely fill in for Ted Ginn Jr., who's now with the Cardinals.

Chicago Bears: ILB Bostic vs. Williams

Jon Bostic
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Chicago Bears: ILB Bostic vs. Williams

Jon Bostic
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The Chicago Bears' defense was hit hard by the injury bug last season, especially at the linebacker position. With Lance Briggs coming back healthy, the linebacker unit should receive a boost. But the battle between Jon Bostic and D.J. Williams is a very interesting one. Bostic is a young stud linebacker, but struggled last season when thrust into action. He should beat out the veteran, but don't sleep on the underrated former Miami Hurricane.

Cincinnati Bengals: No. 2 CB Dennard vs. Kirkpatrick vs. Newman

Darqueze Dennard
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Cincinnati Bengals: No. 2 CB Dennard vs. Kirkpatrick vs. Newman

Darqueze Dennard
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The Cincinnati Bengals have one of the league's best corners in CB Leon Hall, but it's always a huge debate who plays opposite Hall. The Bengals spent a first-round pick on Darqueze Dennard, who surely fits the bill of what the Bengals want in their players, but he may not be ready right out of the gate. He will have to beat former first rounder Dre Kirkpatrick and Terrance Newman for the No. 2 spot opposite Hall. My money is on Dennard, though.

Cleveland Browns: QB Hoyer vs. Manziel

Johnny Manziel
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Cleveland Browns: QB Hoyer vs. Manziel

Johnny Manziel
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The Cleveland Browns have stated outright that QB Brian Hoyer will be the team's top option at the QB position. While that's all fine and dandy, the fans of Cleveland want a playmaker who will spark the offense, especially if the team is without WR Josh Gordon for much of the year. Johnny Manziel will have to beat Hoyer outright for the top position on the depth chart, but do not underestimate this kid. He has playmaker written all over him.

Dallas Cowboys: Nickel CB Webb vs. Scandrick

B.W. Webb
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Dallas Cowboys: Nickel CB Webb vs. Scandrick

B.W. Webb
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Throughout much of the 2013 season, the Dallas Cowboys struggled to defend the pass despite having a ton of talent at corner. With Mo Claiborne and Brandon Carr likely penciled in as the starters, Orlando Scandrick will have to fend off second-year CB B.W. Webb for the nickel position. Webb played like a rookie last season in that he played well at times, and not so well in other instances. I would be shocked if the youngster didn't win the job.

Denver Broncos: No. 2 WR Sanders vs. Latimer

Cody Latimer
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Denver Broncos: No. 2 WR Sanders vs. Latimer

Cody Latimer
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The Denver Broncos essentially allowed WR Eric Decker to walk via free agency to reel in a speed receiver to take his place in Emmanuel Sanders. While Sanders is a nice addition, the team also added Indiana WR Cody Latimer to the mix, who will compete with Sanders for the No. 2 receiver spot. While Latimer has great potential and upside, it would be incredibly shocking to see Sanders as the No. 4 receiver.

Detroit Lions: TE Ebron vs. Pettigrew

Eric Ebron
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Detroit Lions: TE Ebron vs. Pettigrew

Eric Ebron
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The Detroit Lions added two key targets this offseason for QB Matthew Stafford in WR Golden Tate and TE Eric Ebron, whom the team selected with the 10th overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft. Ebron will come in and immediately compete with TE Brandon Pettigrew, who has underwhelmed, to say the least, after being a highly-touted TE prospect from Oklahoma State. Pettigrew should win the battle, but Ebron will see his fair share of snaps.

Green Bay Packers: No. 2 WR Boykin vs. Adams

Jarrett Boykin
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Green Bay Packers: No. 2 WR Boykin vs. Adams

Jarrett Boykin
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The Green Bay Packers allowed WR James Jones to walk via free agency, which opened up a hole at the No. 2 receiver position. WR Jarrett Boykin played phenomenally last season and is looking to continue to develop into a dominant No. 2 receiver opposite WR Jordy Nelson. Watch out for second-round pick Davante Adams, though. Adams is a sure-handed receiver who runs excellent routes. He should win the battle and become the No. 2 WR.

Houston Texans: QB Fitzpatrick vs. Keenum vs. Savage vs. Yates

Case Keenum
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Houston Texans: QB Fitzpatrick vs. Keenum vs. Savage vs. Yates

Case Keenum
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The Houston Texans have one of the most talented teams in the NFL, but the QB position is one of the cloudiest in the league. Case Keenum played well last season, but looked awful in spurts. Rookie Tom Savage is, well, a rookie. T.J. Yates could be a threat here, but your money has to be on Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Amish Rifle can successfully manage the offense down the field and put points on the board. He's your guy, Houston.

Indianapolis Colts: No. 2 RB Ballard vs. Bradshaw

Vic Ballard
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Indianapolis Colts: No. 2 RB Ballard vs. Bradshaw

Vic Ballard
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With RB Trent Richardson likely entrenched as the No. 1 back, the Indianapolis Colts must figure out if Vic Ballard or Ahmad Bradshaw will handle the No. 2 back roles behind Richardson. Ballard had quite the rookie season two years ago, but ran into some injury issues last season. The same can be said for Bradshaw, who has had his fair share of injuries. Put your money on Ballard to be the team's No. 2 back, so Bradshaw will be the No. 3 RB.

Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Bryant vs. Branch vs. Clemons vs. Babin vs. Hood

Andre Branch
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Jacksonville Jaguars: DE Bryant vs. Branch vs. Clemons vs. Babin vs. Hood

Andre Branch
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The Jacksonville Jaguars went out and spent some cash this offseason on a ton of defensive linemen to help solidify their defense. The only problem is that now they have a huge logjam at the position with DEs Andre Branch, Chris Clemons, Jason Babin, Ziggy Hood and Red Bryant all vying for two starting spots. It's still fairly early, but my early guess would be the former high pick Branch and Clemons to win the starting jobs.

Kansas City Chiefs: TE Fasano vs. Kelce

Anthony Fasano
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Kansas City Chiefs: TE Fasano vs. Kelce

Anthony Fasano
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The Kansas City Chiefs are in need of a tight end to step up and work the middle of the field this season for QB Alex Smith. TE Anthony Fasano has been one of the league's best options at moving the chains and being a reliable target, but young Travis Kelce is waiting in the wings to burst out and show the NFL what he has to offer. Kelce is everything that Fasano is plus a little extra. Kelce should become an intricate part of the KC offense.

Miami Dolphins: Slot WR Gibson vs. Landry vs. Matthews

Brandon Gibson
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Miami Dolphins: Slot WR Gibson vs. Landry vs. Matthews

Brandon Gibson
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Ah yes, my Miami Dolphins. Miami received a productive season from WR Brandon Gibson before a devastating knee injury ended his 2013 season. The team lucked out when Rishard Matthews then filled in admirably for Gibson in the same slot role. Both will compete with second-round pick Jarvis Landry for the slot receiver role. While Gibson is recovering from a knee injury, he still remains the favorite for the spot.

Minnesota Vikings: No. 2 CB Cox vs. Munnerlyn vs. Josh Robinson

Josh Robinson
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Minnesota Vikings: No. 2 CB Cox vs. Munnerlyn vs. Josh Robinson

Josh Robinson
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The Minnesota Vikings may have struck gold with 2013 first-round pick CB Xavier Rhodes, but the team is still searching for a No. 2 corner to pair with Rhodes. CBs Derek Cox and Josh Robinson are decent options, but Captain Munnerlyn is a young corner who has played well over his short tenure with the Carolina Panthers. Look for Munnerlyn to assert himself as the No. 2 corner this season for head coach Mike Zimmer.

New England Patriots: Nickel CB Dennard vs. Ryan

Alfonso Dennard
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New England Patriots: Nickel CB Dennard vs. Ryan

Alfonso Dennard
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The New England Patriots added CBs Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner this offseason to replace Aqib Talib, who left to play for the Denver Broncos. What an upgrade, huh? The team will now allow CBs Alfonso Dennard and Logan Ryan battle it out for the nickel role defensively. Dennard has some upside as a nickel, but his off-the-field run-ins and Ryan's ability to blitz and get his hands on the ball give him the upper-hand over Dennard.

New Orleans Saints: RB Ingram vs. Thomas

Mark Ingram
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New Orleans Saints: RB Ingram vs. Thomas

Mark Ingram
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The New Orleans Saints traded away their utility man in RB Darren Sproles, but still have a load of talent at RB with Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas. The two veterans will battle it out for the top spot on the depth chart this offseason. While Ingram played well down the stretch last season, my money is on Thomas at this point due to his ability to really do just about everything. He's the most complete back the Saints have on their roster.

New York Giants: CB Thurmond vs. Amukamara

Prince Amukamara
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New York Giants: CB Thurmond vs. Amukamara

Prince Amukamara
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The New York Giants went out this offseason to tweak their secondary and they did a darn good job in doing so by reeling in two talented corners in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond via free agency. Assuming DRC can lock up the No. 1 corner spot on the team, that leaves Thurmond to battle with Prince Amukamara for the No. 2 corner spot. Given Amukamara's experience as a nickel, Thurmond should win this battle.

New York Jets: RB Ivory vs. Johnson

Chris Ivory
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New York Jets: RB Ivory vs. Johnson

Chris Ivory
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The New York Jets owned one of the league's better running games in the NFL last season, yet they felt the need to bring former Tennessee Titans RB Chris Johnson to town. Johnson will battle with RB Chris Ivory for the top running back spot on the Jets' depth chart. While Johnson is an explosive runner, I'm giving the edge to Ivory due to his angry running style and ability to be a complete back over Johnson's one-dimensional running.

Oakland Raiders: OLB Moore vs. Mack vs. Woodley vs. Burnett vs. Burris

Sio moore
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Oakland Raiders: OLB Moore vs. Mack vs. Woodley vs. Burnett vs. Burris

Sio Moore
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After a very productive rookie season, OLB Sio Moore will be joined by Lamarr Woodley, Kevin Burnett, Miles Burris and the fifth overall pick Khalil Mack, all vying for the two outside linebacker positions in the Oakland Raiders' 4-3 defense. Moore will likely shift to the weak-side linebacker position, but it remains to be seen where the others will end up playing. Oakland will have to do some work to figure out the best starting three combo.

Philadelphia Eagles: CB Boykin vs. Williams vs. Carroll vs. Fletcher vs. Watkins

Brandon Boykin
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Philadelphia Eagles: CB Boykin vs. Williams vs. Carroll vs. Fletcher vs. Watkins

Brandon Boykin
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After having one of the league's worst pass defenses for much of the 2013 NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles have loads of talent at corner with Brandon Boykin, Cary Williams, Nolan Carroll, Bradley Fletcher and fourth-round pick Jaylen Watkins. All five will be locked into a battle for the No. 1, 2 and 3 positions on the depth chart. Right now, Boykin and Williams should lock up the top two spots with Carroll likely as the third CB.

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Wheaton vs. Moore vs. Bryant

Markus Wheaton
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Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Wheaton vs. Moore vs. Bryant

Markus Wheaton
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The Pittsburgh Steelers are now without WR Emmanuel Sanders and will have to ask second-year WR Markus Wheaton to step into that role after a subpar rookie campaign. Wheaton will be pushed by former New Orleans Saints WR Lance Moore and Clemson rookie WR Martavius Bryant. Moore is a better fit in the slot, while Bryant may be able to step into the No. 2 role, though, Wheaton has the upper-hand early.

San Diego Chargers: OLB Attaochu vs. Freeney vs. English

Dwight Freeney
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San Diego Chargers: OLB Attaochu vs. Freeney vs. English

Dwight Freeney
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Last season, the San Diego Chargers signed OLB Dwight Freeney as a free agent and he had a decent impact early, but he suffered a season-ending injury forcing the team to rely on Jarrett Johnson, Melvin Ingram, Larry English and others to generate a pass rush. The team went out and spent a second-rounder this year on Jeremiah Attaochu, who will battle Freeney and English for the starting OLB spot opposite Ingram. Give it to Freeney right now.

San Francisco 49ers: No. 2 RB Hunter vs. Hyde vs. James vs. Lattimore

Kendall Hunter
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San Francisco 49ers: No. 2 RB Hunter vs. Hyde vs. James vs. Lattimore

Kendall Hunter
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The San Francisco 49ers are loaded at the running back position with talent behind one of the league's best runners in RB Frank Gore. Kendall Hunter, LaMichael James, Marcus Lattimore and rookie Carlos Hyde going to battle for the backup running back gig will be an absolute dog fight and one of the better battles to watch unfold. Hunter and James have the edge, but don't be surprised to see Hyde listed as the No. 2 back come October.

Seattle Seahawks: No. 2 RB Turbin vs. Michael

Robert Turbin
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Seattle Seahawks: No. 2 RB Turbin vs. Michael

Robert Turbin
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The Seattle Seahawks have one of the league's best running backs in Marshawn Lynch, but they also have one of the league's best running back stables with Robert Turbin and Christine Michael backing up Lynch. Turbin has been one of the better backups in the league, but Michael has the explosion that Turbin is clearly lacking. I'm giving the nod to Michael in this battle due to his big-play ability over Turbin's bruising running style.

St Louis Rams: WR Quick vs. Pettis vs. Britt vs. Bailey

Brian Quick
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St Louis Rams: WR Quick vs. Pettis vs. Britt vs. Bailey

Brian Quick
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The St. Louis Rams had one of the better drafts this past May, but they really bottomed out not adding a dominant No. 1 receiver with one of their top draft picks. WRs Brian Quick, Austin Pettis, Stedman Bailey and former Tennessee Titan Kenny Britt will all battle for the No. 1 and 2 roles offensively. Quick has No. 1 ability, therefore, we will give that job to him. The No. 2 is up for grabs and I think Pettis has the best shot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Bowers vs. Clayborn

Da'Quan Bowers
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: DE Bowers vs. Clayborn

Da'Quan Bowers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have arguably had the best offseason of all teams in the NFL and the addition of DE Michael Johnson may be the best move of free agency. With Johnson in town, DEs Da'Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn will battle for the other starting DE position in Tampa's 4-3 scheme. While Clayborn is a good player, Bowers' all-around ability should allow him to blow Clayborn out of the water in this battle.

Tennessee Titans: RT Oher vs. Lewan

Michael Oher
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Tennessee Titans: RT Oher vs. Lewan

Michael Oher
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The Tennessee Titans went out this offseason and signed former Baltimore Ravens RT Michael Oher to solidify their offensive line. As if that were not enough, the team also spent the 11th overall pick on Michigan OT Taylor Lewan. These two should engage in quite an interesting and underrated battle this offseason, which should lead to Lewan learning to play LT as their blind-side protector of the future with Oher playing RT immediately.

Washington Redskins: FS Amerson vs. Clark

David Amerson
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Washington Redskins: FS Amerson vs. Clark

David Amerson
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The Washington Redskins signed FS Ryan Clark this offseason to help add a veteran presence to a very young safety group. With Philip Thomas and Baccari Rambo battling for the SS position, former CB David Amerson will move to FS to battle Clark. While Clark may have the upper-hand in terms of experience, Amerson has the ball skills needed to solidify this porous secondary. Look for Amerson to be the Redskins' starting FS come September.