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NFL Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals Training Camp 2014: Ranking The Top 5 Position Battles

Arizona Cardinals Training Camp 2014: Top 5 Position Battles

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The Arizona Cardinals have several intriguing battles going on during training camp. On a young team with a lot of talent, the Cardinals are doing their best to make sure only their best talent is on the field come Week 1, hence the reason for all the training camp battles. With that said, here are the top five position battles going on in Arizona during training camp.

5. OLB: Matt Shaughnessy vs. Sam Acho vs. Marcus Benard vs. Alex Okafor

Matt Shaughnessy
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5. OLB: Matt Shaughnessy vs. Sam Acho vs. Marcus Benard vs. Alex Okafor

Matt Shaughnessy
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None of the players battling for the Cardinals' OLB spot are going to be elite players, but all of the players battling for the spot are adequate starting options. Shaughnessy is very strong against the run, and should be the favorite to start in Week 1. That said, Benard, Acho and Okafor have more potential in the long run.

4. ILB: Larry Foote vs. Ernie Sims

Ernie Sims
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4. ILB: Larry Foote vs. Ernie Sims

Ernie Sims  - Copy
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The loss of Karlos Dansby and the suspension of Daryl Washington really hurt the Cardinals’ linebacking corps. Second-year man Kevin Minter should be fine at one of the inside linebacker spots, but the other spot is a question mark. Both Foote and Sims are below-average players, and whoever wins this battle will likely struggle.

3. RG: Paul Fanaika vs. Earl Watford vs. Anthony Steen

Paul Fanaika
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3. RG: Paul Fanaika vs. Earl Watford vs. Anthony Steen

Paul Fanaika - Copy
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The Cardinals will get Jonathan Cooper back at left guard after an injury-ruined rookie campaign, but right guard is still a toss-up. Paul Fanaika has been a liability, so has Earl Watford. Expect the rookie Steen to win this job.

2. RT: Bradley Sowell vs. Bobby Massie

Arizona Cardinals offensive line
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2. RT: Bradley Sowell vs. Bobby Massie

Arizona Cardinals offensive line - Copy
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Although the Cardinals finally fixed their problems at the left tackle position, right tackle remains a concern. Bradley Sowell is below-average as a starter, while Bobby Massie declined last season. Regardless of who wins this battle, the Cardinals will need them to step up their game.

1. TE: Rob Housler vs. John Carlson vs. Troy Niklas vs. Jake Ballard

Troy Niklas
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1. TE: Rob Housler vs. John Carlson vs. Troy Niklas vs. Jake Ballard

Troy Niklas
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Whoever wins this battle will be utilized heavily in Bruce Arians’ offense. Rob Housler is the incumbent, but he has never developed into a consistent option. Both John Carlson and Jake Ballard have shown promise in their career, though injuries derailed them. Troy Niklas is the wildcard in this group. Niklas could be a big weapon if everything goes well.