WE still have about a month until NFL training camps kick off around USA. Some teams are entering camp with a solidified roster, eager to make a few minor tweaks and changes. Others, find themselves torn when it comes to selecting starters with a few spots expected to be hotly contested during July/August. While plenty is still left to be decided before the season commences, these battles throughout the preseason will be a popular talking point.
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Washington Redskins Quarterback
Dwayne Haskins vs. Case Keenum vs. Colt McCoy
EVER since the Redskins drafted Dwayne Haskins 15th overall, Case Keenum has been looking over his shoulder. The veteran QB landed in Washington via trade in March and many expected him to take over the full-time reigns while Alex Smith rehab’s from his ugly leg break.
COLT McCoy could have maybe made a case as the starter too, after appearing in 10 games through his four-year Redskin career to date. However, Haskins is the hot name expected to get the nod outpacing the two veterans on the roster and after 50 TD’s and a Rose Bowl MVP performance, you can see why the Heisman Trophy finalist is leading the race.
Seattle Seahawks Safety
Tedric Thompson vs. Marquise Blair vs. Ugochukwu Amadi
NOW that Kam Chancellor has called time on his 109-game Hall of Fame worthy career, the Seahawks are left with a glaring hole on their roster. Bradley McDougald resides in one slot, but the race is on for the other position. Tedric Thompson seems like the logical choice as he enters his third NFL season with Seattle. Rookies Marquise Blair and Ugochukwu Amadi could vault into consideration if they can hit the ground running, but Thompson seems to have one hand on the spot already.
Image from vavel.com
Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver
Deon Cain vs. Devin Funchess vs. Chester Rogers vs. Paris Campbell
ANDREW Luck recorded over 4,500 passing yards last season for just the second time in his career. With T.Y. Hilton set to star on one side of the ball there is a legitimate battle for the WR2 spot. They are spoilt for choice with offseason signing Devin Funchess expected to be the one to beat out. Draftee Paris Campbell could enter the mix after being selected 59th overall and Deon Cain was a breakout candidate last season before suffering a torn ACL.
DON’T forget Chester Rogers as well, fresh off a career-season who could put pressure on the other trio for selection. However, he seems destined to play a small role in Indianapolis offense this season. My gut says the young Campbell to earn the tole over the duration of the year, but Funchess will start in Week 1.
New England Patriots Left Tackle
Isaiah Wynn vs. Yodny Cajuste vs. Jared Veldheer
FOUR year’s and $66 million dollars later, Tom Brady needs new blindside protection. The Oakland Raiders managed to pry away Super Bowl LT Trent Brown after conceding just 3.5 sacks in 16 games a season ago. An Achilles injury to Isaiah Wynn meant he was never able to try and challenge Brown for the starting job last year with the Patriots drafting Wynn in the first round of the 2018 Draft.
THEY nabbed another candidate for the job in Yondy Cajuste this draft period too, who has injury issues of his own to worry about. New England can’t afford to get this one wrong with Brady’s window getting smaller with every hit he takes. Wynn will again be the preseason favourite for the job and should be there against the Steelers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cornerback
Ryan Smith vs. Vernon Hargreaves vs. Sean Murphy-Bunting vs. Jamel Dean
FOR Tampa Bay to get the Bruce Arians regime off to a successful start they are going to need a big step up from their defense. Todd Bowles’ presence is a good start, but they need better play from their cornerbacks this season as they desperately try to find some playmakers on that side of the ball. Former 11th overall draft pick Vernon Hargreaves only managed one game last year and is no certainty for the role if he struggles to recover from a torn labrum. Veteran Ryan Smith filled his place and could be called upon to do so again. However, my guess is that one of their newest recruits in second-rounder Sean Murphy-Bunting and third-rounder Jameal Dean will swoop in and claim the job. My money is on Murphy-Bunting.
Image from tampabay.com
Oakland Raiders Defensive End
Benson Mayowa vs. Arden Key vs. Josh Mauro vs. Maxx Crosby
WE all know that Clellin Ferrell will take up solace on one end of the Raiders defensive line this season, but who’ll accompany him? Part of the decision hinges on what they of player they plan to deploy as well, with the candidates all possessing different skillset’s. Benson Mayowa spent two seasons in Oakland previously (2014-2015) recording just two sacks in 28 games, while Josh Mauro joins the franchise after a year at the Giants.
MIDDLE-tier draftees Arden Key and Maxx Crosby are going to have the chance to claim the gig as their own as well with a strong preseason performance. Both have work to do developmentally, but on a rebuilding Raiders team, they could both deserve first-team reps during 2019. My prediction would be for Key to start the year at one spot, but for a handful of players to cycle through the position.
Miami Dolphins Quarterback
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. Josh Rosen
THE Dolphins are stuck in a tricky position here. After trading for Josh Rosen in the NFL Draft they will want to see what he can look like in their offense and develop into the franchise quarterback that every franchise covets. The hard part is after stripping back their team to spare parts this offseason, they have their sights set on as good a draft pick as they can get their hands on to potentially snare Jake Fromm, Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert. For that reason, I’d expect the eternal Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the season for Miami and help their rebuild along without exposing Rosen to testing times.
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