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NFL Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers’ Top 5 Position Battles in 2014 Training Camp

Carolina Panthers' Top 5 Position Battles in 2014 Training Camp

Carolina Panthers Training Camp
JDedmanPhoto-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations are much higher for Carolina coming into training camp than in years past. Going 12-4 and winning the division will do that. Despite the optimism, the Panthers still have a lot of question marks on this team. A handful of players will have a chance to move up on the depth chart at training camp. Here are the top five position battles for the Carolina Panthers.

5. Weakside Linebacker

A.J. Klein Carolina Panthers
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5. Weakside Linebacker

A.J. Klein Carolina Panthers
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Whoever wins this position battle will be playing alongside the defensive player of the year, Luke Kuechly. The lucky player will either be Chase Blackburn or A.J. Klein. Blackburn was the starter last season while Klein mainly played on special teams. Klein is the younger and more athletic player and I think he has a good chance to take the starting spot from Blackburn this year.

4. Defensive End

Greg Hardy Carolina Panthers
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4. Defensive End

Greg Hardy Carolina Panthers
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Carolina's defensive line is probably their biggest strength. The four starters were all but set in stone until a few months ago. Greg Hardy was convicted of domestic abuse and will likely be suspended. This opens up a spot for a few different guys. The most notable player that will have a chance to fill in for Hardy is second-round pick, Kony Ealy. He will be competing with more experienced players such as Mario Addison and Wes Horton.

3. Cornerback

Melvin White Carolina Panthers
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3. Cornerback

Melvin White Carolina Panthers
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The Panthers' secondary is the one area of their defense that needs to improve. As of now, it looks like Melvin White and Antonie Cason will be the starting corners to begin the year. The starting nickel corner is more up in the air. Converted safety, Charles Godfrey, is the favorite to win the job. Fifth-round pick Bene Benwikere has opened a lot of eyes and has become an unlikely challenger for Godfrey.

2. Left Tackle

Byron Bell Carolina Panthers
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2. Left Tackle

Byron Bell Carolina Panthers
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The retirement of Jordan Gross left a big hole in the Panthers' offensive line. The competition to replace him is between Byron Bell and Nate Chandler. Bell is currently the favorite to win the job. The good news for Chandler is that he won't have to sit on the bench because he will likely be the starting right tackle. Either way, there will be a lot of pressure on these two players to protect Cam Newton.

1. Wide Receiver

Kelvin Benjamin Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

1. Wide Receiver

Kelvin Benjamin Carolina Panthers
Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

No team in the NFL had as much turnover at the wide receiver position than the Carolina Panthers. They signed Jason Avant, Jerricho Cotchery, Tiquan Underwood and drafted Kelvin Benjamin. Four new faces will mean extra competition for spots. Avant and Cotchery will probably come out of training camp as the starters, but it shouldn't be long before Kelvin Benjamin becomes the No. 1 target for Cam Newton.