Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Everything was falling into place for Derek Newton last season.
His main competition in training camp, Rashad Butler, was lost for the season with a torn triceps. Butler’s replacement was an occasional starter from the Denver Broncos, Ryan Harris, and not much of a threat. Newton was on his way from being drafted in the seventh round to being a starter on a Super Bowl contender.
Someone on the coaching staff decided the best way to deal with his up-and-down play was to rotate snaps with Harris. That did not prove to be the solution, and an injury followed in Week 12 that caused him to miss the next two games.
Newton played the rest of the season in the same yo-yo fashion, nursing a torn patellar tendon along the way. It required surgery in the offseason and kept him out for all of OTAs and the minicamp.
The only development in his favor is the top rookie competing for his spot, Brennan Williams, has also missed the majority of the workouts. If Newton makes it back by training camp, he will be looking up at Harris on the first team and rookie David Quessenberry on the second team.
That makes three challengers for the spot that was once his. A lot can change in a year.