By Tyler McMullen @Direct_Snap on July 26, 2014
Miami's training camp sessions have begun and player battles are already heating up. Miami has a ton of position battles to keep an eye on over the next few weeks, but here are the top five battles you should be tracking while the team practices into August.
This is more of a three-way battle for the label of "starter," but all three defensive tackles will see a ton of playing time this season. Randy Starks was thought to be an ex-Miami Dolphin after the 2013 season concluded, but re-signed with the team after the market was not as enticing as he thought it would be. He will compete with Jared Odrick and another offseason acquisition, Earl Mitchell, for the starting label this season.
Reshad Jones will return as the team's strong safety, but former Miami FS Chris Clemons is now in Houston, leaving Miami searching for a stud to pair with the former Pro Bowler in Jones. Miami signed former Detroit Lion Louis Delmas this offseason and will give CB/S Jimmy Wilson an opportunity to win the job as well. The early favorite has to be Delmas, but don't sleep on Wilson.
In 2013, Philip Wheeler had a decent season if you read his statistics, leading the team in tackles. But Wheeler was perhaps Miami's worst defensive player, and was an absolute liability in coverage. Wheeler will compete with second-year LB Jelani Jenkins for the starting role. While many may believe Wheeler should run away with this one, Jenkins has been stealing snaps in practices thus far with the starting unit.
Miami has one of the NFL's top corners in CB Brent Grimes, but the team lacks a true No. 2 corner to pair with Grimes. Miami brought in former Pro Bowl CB Cortland Finnegan this offseason, who will compete with 2013 second-round pick CB Jamar Taylor for that job. Finnegan and Taylor are both talented players, but one will have to break away sooner or later. This one could go on for awhile, even into the regular season a ways.
The slot receiver battle between rookie Jarvis Landry and veterans Brandon Gibson and Rishard Matthews tops the list because it is going to be an all-out war between these three players. Gibson and Matthews both played well working from the slot last season, but Landry just has something about him that seems to fit what Miami would like in their slot receiver. Wallace, Hartline, Landry, Gibson, Matthews sounds like a fantastic corp to me.
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