10 NFL Veterans in Danger of Losing Their Starting Positions This Fall

Kevin Abblitt@kevinabblittCorrespondent IIIJune 21, 2012

10 NFL Veterans in Danger of Losing Their Starting Positions This Fall

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    Job security is never a for sure thing in the ruthless business of the NFL.

    It is inevitable—change is going to come. With every new year comes new talent—talent that could swipe the rug from beneath a veteran's feet if he isn't careful.

    I have created a list of 10 veteran players whose careers have begun to sputter out and could very well be without a job in 2012.

Tarvaris Jackson

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    When opportunity comes knocking, it is best to seize the moment before it is gone. The Seattle Seahawks picked up Jackson from his sputtering affair in Minnesota, hoping that he would flourish if given a second chance.

    Unfortunately, T-Jax just hasn’t quite figured that out yet. And by the looks of it, it just may be too little too late.

    After Seattle brought over Matt Flynn and then selected Russell Wilson with the 75th pick in the draft, a battle was beginning to erupt in the Pacific Northwest.

    What have you done for me lately? It's simple: Jackson hasn’t fit the mold of an ideal starting quarterback. It would appear that he may be the odd man out in the three-headed race.

Shawne Merriman

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    The former human highlight reel, Shawne “Lights Out” Merriman was a one-man wrecking crew every time he took the field. His physical style of play and raw athleticism led him to be one of the most feared linebackers in the game.

    Fast forward to today, and his nickname has a much different meaning. In fact, the lights appear to be flirting with the off switch in Buffalo. After trying to restore his once-promising career, nothing has come to his rescue.

    The Bills made a splash in free agency this offseason by acquiring defensive ends in Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. Shawne Merriman will shift to defensive end in the Bills' new 4-3 defensive scheme, as Clark Judge of CBS Sports notes. If that isn't a telltale sign, then I don't know what is.

    The washed-up veteran doesn’t seem like he will beat out Anderson, which only leaves a spot as a situational pass-rusher vacant.

Larry English

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    In the 2009 NFL draft, the Bolts made a bold move to nab Northern Illinois standout Larry English with the No. 16 overall selection.

    After watching former NIU star Michael Turner blossom into an elite NFL back, the Chargers thought they could mold English in the same direction. A lofty expectation turned sour. 

    Since then, the former first-round pick has racked in a dismal seven career sacks.

    To cement the lack of presence on his behalf, the Chargers went out and selected Melvin Ingram.

    With depth mounting at the linebacker position, Ingram looks to be pushing English right out of a job in 2012.

Matt Hasselbeck

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    With all do respect Matt Hasselbeck, it is time for you to take a seat.

    Tennessee can’t continue to play the waiting game any longer. Jake Locker’s ceiling is sky high, and his momentum is being stifled by the veteran presence.

    One thing is certain: Locker wasn't drafted to spectate. There comes a time when the torch is meant to be passed on, and for Hasselbeck, that time has dwindled down to minutes.

Matt Moore

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    By the selection of Ryan Tannehilll, the Miami Dolphins have invested their trust into him to become the foundation of the franchise. Now or later?

    The X-factor that gives Tannehill the leg up is his former head coach and now offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman. Sherman packed his bags for Miami after he was relieved of his duties at Texas A&M. The duo will look to carry over their collegiate success in the NFL.

    If the Dolphins want any shot at keeping chase with the offensive powerhouse of New England, then it is in their best interest to give Tannehill the starting duties.

    David Garrard will solidify the backup role, leaving Moore hung out to dry.

Colt McCoy

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    How is Colt McCoy a veteran? He may only be entering his third season in the league, but after the shots he has taken, he is beginning to look more along the lines of a 10-year veteran.

    The dude is three years younger than the recently-selected rookie Brandon Weeden, so who will start? I am just glad I don’t have to weigh in on the final decision.

    After Cleveland selected the 28-year-old quarterback out of Oklahoma State, it prompted many suspicions that McCoy may very well return to the passenger seat come 2012.

    This dilemma is panning out to be a remake of Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. The elements that jut into the picture remain experience and age. Rivers rode the pine for two seasons, soaking in the system under the guise of Drew Brees.

    If Weeden sits out a year, he will be 29, which leaves him with only a handful of playing years left to his name.

    It is going to be a slugfest in Cleveland. Trading blow for blow, Weeden will give McCoy a run for his money and make him earn his keep, but McCoy will ultimately take the first snap come Week 1. 

    If McCoy isn’t producing on a dime and the Browns look to be quickly derailing from the tracks, the seasoned collegiate veteran will fill the void.

Nate Clements

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    Despite the veteran pick-ups of Terence Newman and Jason Allen, the Bengals now possess one of the most elusive tackling corners coming out of college. And Dre Kirkpatrick isn't shying away from stealing the 32-year-old's position.

    This is one of the more intriguing battles going on this offseason. The odds are that Nate Clements will be the Week 1 starter, but Kirkpatrick is salivating for his name to be called on.

    Look out Darrelle Revis, Cincinnati has got one of its own in the making.

LeGarrette Blount

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    I didn't know Metta World Peace played football?

    We all know LeGarrette Blount and his combative history. And quite frankly, that does not fit the style of character that first-year head coach Greg Schiano is looking for, as evidenced by the class act signing of former Rutgers star Eric LeGrand.

    He is more of a cancer than a virtual threat. Blount is living proof that talent can only get you so far.

    Tampa Bay grabbed Doug Martin to take the wheel from Blount's hands and bring the Bucs back into the conversation.

Rex Grossman

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    Let's get ready to rumble!

    Another epic quarterback showdown takes place in Washington D.C., as Rex Grossman and Kirk Cousins collide for a shot in the backup role.

    After already tabbing Robert Griffin III the starting quarterback, things got a bit steamier for Cousins and Grossman.

    The front office for the Redskins wouldn't have drafted Cousins alongside Griffin III if they didn't think he could play.

    Grossman could be in danger of packing his bags because Cousins is playing with nothing to lose.

Brooks Reed

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    After the departure of the injury-prone Mario Williams to the Buffalo Bills, Brooks Reed's odds of becoming a starter were sinking in. Reed managed a solid rookie campaign in 2011 as he reeled in 31 solo tackles and six sacks.

    To make him earn his keep, the Texans selected Whitney Mercilus in April's draft. Mercilus should give Reed a run for his money with either man eligible for the starting role.