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Every NFL Team’s Top Positional Battle Heading into Training Camp

Every NFL Team's Top Positional Battle Heading into Training Camp

Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp is right around the corner, which means there are numerous players fighting for a starting role. Here is every team's most heated position battle going into training camp.

Arizona Cardinals, Inside Linebacker

Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals, Inside Linebacker

Daryl Washington, Arizona Cardinals
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

With Daryl Washington being suspended, there is now an open competition at one of the two starting inside linebacker positions. Larry Foote has one of the starting positions, while Kevin Minter and Lorenzo Alexander will fight for the other spot. The Arizona defense struggled last year without Washington, so both Minter and Alexander are not only going to have to play well but also play at a high level.

Atlanta Falcons, Inside Linebacker

Paul Worrilow, Atlanta Falcons
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Falcons, Inside Linebacker

Paul Worrilow, Atlanta Falcons
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta is another team that has a big hole at the linebacker position with the injury to Sean Witherspoon. Atlanta’s defense last year was something to forget, and there is a lot of pressure on ether Prince Shembo or Paul Worrilow to fill that gap on the inside.

Baltimore Ravens, Running Back

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens, Running Back

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest training camp battle in Baltimore comes at the running back position. It is going to be interesting to see whether Ray Rice can maintain his starting job coming after a disappointing season and possible suspension. It might be time that Bernard Pierce takes over the starting role for the Ravens in 2014 while Rice moves into a more limited role.

Buffalo Bills, Wide Receiver

Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo Bills, Wide Receiver

Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Sammy Watkins is the going to be the No. 1 wide receiver in Buffalo after they traded a first-round pick for him, and that should leave a battle for the No. 2 wide receiver position. The battle features Marquise Goodwin, Robert Woods and free agent Mike Williams. Expect most defenses to pay attention to Watkins which means if the offense is going to be elite in 2014, one of those wide receivers are going to have to step up.

Carolina Panthers, Wide Receiver

Jerricho Cotchery, Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers, Wide Receiver

Jerricho Cotchery, Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Panthers are very thin at the wide receiver position, and after letting go veteran Steve Smith, there is going to be a battle to be Cam Newton’s No. 1 receiver. Teams are going to stack the box in order to stop the running game, which means one of Kelvin Benjamin, Jason Avant or Jerricho Cotchery will have to step up and be the feature wide receiver.

Chicago Bears, Defensive Tackle

Will Sutton, Chiacgo Bears
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears, Defensive Tackle

Will Sutton, Chiacgo Bears
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Last year the Chicago Bears' defense left a lot to be desired, so the team chose to spend a draft pick on defensive tackle Will Sutton. There is going to be a battle for the No. 1 defensive tackle position between Sutton and Stephan Pea. If the Bears are able to control the line of scrimmage their defense should improve enough to get to the playoffs next year.

Cincinnati Bengals, Cornerback

Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bengals, Cornerback

Darqueze Dennard, Cincinnati Bengals
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals spent their first-round pick on cornerback Darqueze Dennard and expect him to battle veteran Terence Newman for the starting cornerback position. The Bengals have a great defensive line, and strong play from the cornerback position could make their already great defense that much better.

Cleveland Browns, Quarterback

Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns, Quarterback

Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland has the biggest training camp battle in the NFL. Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer are going to be fighting for the No. 1 position. Even though head coach Mike Pettine said Hoyer is going to get first-team reps, if Manziel can show in training camp that he is good enough to start, the coaching staff might not have a choice.

Dallas Cowboys, Defensive End

Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys, Defensive End

Demarcus Lawrence, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After the Cowboys let go of their all-time sack leader DeMarcus Ware, there is a huge gap at defensive end. The battle should be between Jeremy Mincey and rookie Demarcus Lawrence. Both are going to have big shoes to fill if they are going to be the primary pass rusher in the Cowboys defense.

Denver Broncos, Cornerback

Chris Harris, Denver Broncos
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos, Cornerback

Chris Harris, Denver Broncos
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos chose to upgrade their secondary by adding cornerback Aqib Talib. He will be the starting cornerback, but the other spot is still wide open. That battle is going to come down to Chris Harris and Bradley Roby. The Broncos felt that they needed to upgrade their defense this offseason, and if they can get solid play from the cornerbacks it should be enough for them to make another run at the Super Bowl.

Detroit Lions, Cornerback

Bell Bently, Detroit Lions
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions, Cornerback

Bell Bently, Detroit Lions
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions have a huge hole at the cornerback position, and there is going to be a battle for not only the No. 1 corner position but also the No. 2 spot as well. This is going to come down to Bill Bentley, Darius Slay, Rashean Mathis and Nevin Lawson. Their offense should be elite next year, but if they are going to make the playoffs then they are going to have to improve on the defensive side of the ball.

Green Bay Packers, Free Safety

Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Green Bay Packers
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers, Free Safety

Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, Green Bay Packers copy
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Packers looked to upgrade their secondary in the draft with the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from Alabama, but he is going to have to battle Micah Hyde for the starting free safety position. The Packers' secondary is going to have to improve if they are going to make a run to the Super Bowl, and this training camp battle can go a long way in helping accomplish that goal.

Houston Texans, Free Safety

Chris Clemons, Houston Texans
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Texans, Free Safety

Chris Clemons, Houston Texans
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Texans completely overhauled their defense last year and look for the biggest competition in training camp to come from that side of the ball. The free safety position is going be a battle between Kendrick Lewis and Chris Clemons. Both players have experience in playing the free safety role, and if the Texans are going to be aggressive on defense, they need some stability at the back end.

Indianapolis Colts, Free Safety

Delano Howell, Indianapolis Colts
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis Colts, Free Safety

Delano Howell, Indianapolis Colts
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Colts' main goal is to make a Super Bowl run this year, and for that to happen they are going to have improve their defense. Look for main battle of training camp to be at the free safety position between Delano Howell and Mike Adams. Both played well last year when called upon, but Adams actually started for his team which makes this competition very interesting.

Jacksonville Jaguars, Wide Reciever

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Jacksonville Jaguars, Wide Reciever

Marqise Lee, Jacksonville Jaguars
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars chose to upgrade their offense in the draft in the offseason and more specifically the wide receiver position. There is going to be a battle between rookies Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson for the No. 2 wide receiver position. Expect their offense to grow as the season goes along, but it's going to be interesting to see which rookie will get the first crack at making an impact.

Kansas City Chiefs, Wide Receiver

Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Chiefs, Wide Receiver

Donnie Avery, Kansas City Chiefs
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Dwayne Bowe has the No. 1 wide receiver position locked up which leaves the No. 2 position open for competition between Donnie Avery and A.J. Jenkins. With defenses paying attention to Jamaal Charles, there should be plenty of opportunity to make an impact on the offensive side of the ball.

Miami Dolphins, Free Safety

Jimmy Wilson, Miami Dolphins
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins, Free Safety

Jimmy Wilson, Miami Dolphins
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest battle in the Dolphins' training camp is going to come down to Jimmy Wilson and Louis Delmas. Both were added in free agency to make sure the secondary was upgraded. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top to make an impact on the Dolphins' defense.

Minnesota Vikings, Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings, Quarterback

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest battle in the Vikings' training camp comes down to the quarterback position. That battle is going to feature, veterans Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel with rookie Teddy Bridgewater looking to make an impact too. The Vikings have a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball, but it’s going to be interesting to see who can drive that offense going forward.

New England Patriots, Defensive Tackle

Tom Kelly New England Patriots
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots, Defensive Tackle

Tom Kelly New England Patriots
Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots are very strong on defense, but that doesn’t mean that there won't be any competition on the defensive side of ball for playing time. The main camp battle is going to come down to veteran Tommy Kelly and Dominique Easley. Just because Kelly is a veteran does not mean Bill Belichick will hesitate to play a rookie. It is strictly about who can make his defense better.

New Orleans Saints, Running back

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints, Running back

Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints copy
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

With the trade of running back Darren Sproles, there is now going to be an open competition at the running back position between Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram. Thomas looks like the odds-on favorite to win that battle, but if Ingram can show that he can be the impact player the Saints expect him to be, look for him to get some of the first-team reps.

New York Giants, Inside Linebacker

Mark Herzlich, New York Giants
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants, Inside Linebacker

Mark Herzlich, New York Giants
The Star-Ledger-USA TODAY Sports

The main battle in the Giants' training camp is going to be at the linebacker position, and it is going to feature Mark Herzlich and Devon Kennard. It is going to be interesting to see whether each of these players can make an impact in the middle of the Giants' defense that needed to be improved from last year.

New York Jets, Quarterback

Geno Smith, New York Jets
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets, Quarterback

Geno Smith, New York Jets copy
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This is one of the more interesting training camp battles in the NFL. There is going to be a battle for the starting quarterback position with the New York Jets featuring Geno Smith and Michael Vick. It will be interesting to see whether Vick can overtake Smith and win the starting job. Quarterback play has always been an issue for Rex Ryan while he has been the Jets head coach, so it is going to be interesting to see who wins the gig.

Oakland Raiders, Quarterback

Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders, Quarterback

Matt Schaub, Oakland Raiders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders are another team that is going to have a quarterback battle in training camp. Right now it appears that Matt Schaub is going to be the starting quarterback going into the season, but if he struggles look for rookie Derek Carr to take over if he has a strong showing in training camp. Either way the Raiders are going to need some stability at the quarterback position in order to make a run this season.

Philadelphia Eagles, Outside Linebacker

Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles, Outside Linebacker

Marcus Smith, Philadelphia Eagles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles surprised a lot of teams last year, and if they are going to continue that success next year they are going have to play well on defense too. The biggest battle in training camp is going to be at the linebacker position between rookie Marcus Smith and veteran Connor Barwin. Both should be looked at to make an impact rushing the passer, and whoever wins this job has to make the opposing quarterback's life a living nightmare.

Pittsburgh Steelers, Wide Reciever

Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers, Wide Reciever

Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Steelers chose to let Emmanuel Sanders go in free agency which left a big hole at the wide receiver position. Antonio Brown is going to be the featured wide receiver, but there is going to be a competition to see who starts opposite of him. This is going to be between Markus Wheaton, Justin Brown and Lance Moore. All three are going to have a chance to help the Steelers' offense grow in 2014 and hopefully return the Steelers to the playoffs.

San Diego Chargers, Tight End

Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego Chargers, Tight End

Ladarius Green, San Diego Chargers
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers made a surprising run to the playoffs last year under a great passing game led by Philip Rivers. The biggest battle in training camp for the Chargers might come from the tight end position. This could be the year that Ladarius Green overtakes Antonio Gates for the starting role in the Chargers' offense. Gates has lost a step, and Green might be a diamond in the rough.

Seattle Seahawks, Wide Receiver

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Seattle Seahawks, Wide Receiver

Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The defending Super Bowl champions have always stressed competition, and the results speak for themselves. They chose to let Golden Tate go in the offseason which means that there is going to be a battle for the No. 2 wide receiver position between Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse. If either one can make an impact, the Seahawks can make another strong run at the Super Bowl.

San Francisco 49ers, Strong Safety

Jimmie Ward, San Francis 49ers
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers, Strong Safety

Jimmie Ward San Francis 49ers
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers have always had a great defense, and this year their biggest battle is going to come down to the strong safety position. The two players involved are rookie Jimmie Ward and free agent signing Antoine Bethea. Both can be strong in the running game and play well as in the box safeties. Going forward it's going to be interesting to see who can make the 49ers defense even more dangerous.

St. Louis Rams, Cornerback

Lamarcus Joyner St. Louis Rams
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

St. Louis Rams, Cornerback

Lamarcus Joyner St. Louis Rams
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

The Rams chose to let veteran cornerback Cortland Finnegan go in the offseason which left a big hole at the position. Their front seven is one of the best in the NFL, and if they can get solid play from the secondary, they can make a run at the playoffs. Lamarcus Joyner and Trumaine Johnson will both battle to see who can start on the strong Rams defense.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Quarterback

Mike Glennon Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Quarterback

Mike Glennon Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs have a lot of weapons on the offensive side of the ball, and the only question left unanswered is who is going to play quarterback. There is going to be a battle between Mike Glennon and Josh McCown to see who can lead the offense. The Bucs have a lot of young talent, and if they can get solid quarterback play they can surprise a lot of teams in 2014.

Tennessee Titans, Running Back

Bishop Sankey, Tennessee Titans
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans, Running Back

Bishop Sankey, Tennesse Titans
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Titans chose to let Chris Johnson go in the offseason which left a big hole at the running back position. This battle is between rookie Bishop Sankey and veteran Shonn Greene. The Titans have a great offensive line, so whoever wins the running back position battle is going to have a great chance to play well.

Washington Redskins, Inside Linebacker

Perry Riley, Washington Redskins
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins, Inside Linebacker

Perry Riley, Washington Redskins
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins' defense has to improve if they are going to make the playoffs again in 2014. Their biggest training camp battle is going to come at the inside linebacker position. Perry Riley and Akeem Jordan are going to battle it out in training camp to see who can get the starting role. Each of the players are going to have to be good in the middle if the Redskins are going to improve on defense.

Christopher Pimentel is a writer for RantSports.com.  Follow him on Twitter, or add him to your network on Google.