Breaking Down Denver Broncos' Biggest Training Camp Battles
Training camps begin kicking off on Monday. Across the league, numerous players will be vying for single positions, resulting in fierce competition.
The Denver Broncos do not start camp until Thursday, but they will have plenty of camp battles once practices begin.
Let's take a look at some of the team's biggest camp battles.
Irving vs. Bradley vs. Johnson
Jamie Squire/Getty Images
The Broncos are quickly fading out middle linebackers in their nickel-heavy defense, but somebody has to man the middle in goal-line and 4-3 fronts.
That's where Nate Irving, Stewart Bradley and Steven Johnson come in. The trio will fight to win the starting MLB gig this summer.
As of today, Irving already appears to have the inside track after playing in 15 games last season, mainly on special teams. The job is Irving's to lose, but it can be claimed by anyone.
DRC vs. Harris vs. Bolden
Rob Carr/Getty Images
At cornerback, Champ Bailey is obviously the No. 1 guy in Denver.
But who is going to play across from him this season?
Last year, Tracy Porter handled those duties early on before giving way to Chris Harris Jr. Now, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been added to the mix, and according to John Elway, Omar Bolden says he's coming back to "take somebody's job."
Potentially, DCR will wind up across from Bailey, and Harris will be the slot cornerback. That would leave Bolden fighting for the No. 4 cornerback spot with Tony Carter and Kayvon Webster, which may be where the real cornerback battle will be held.
Either way you look at it, the Broncos have a lot of depth at the position, and there will be fierce competition for all of the spots.
Vasquez vs. Kuper vs. Beadles
The Broncos have three Pro Bowl-caliber guards, but only two starting positions on the depth chart.
Will Chris Kuper, a 2012 Pro Bowl alternate, be the odd man out?
The team signed Louis Vasquez to a big contract in free agency, and Zane Beadles is coming off a Pro Bowl season, so those two seemingly have the two guard positions locked up. Where does that leave Kuper?
Kuper, 30, is entering his eighth season with the Broncos and is due to make $4.5 million in 2013, per Spotrac.com. With that much money owed to a backup player coming off injuries, a restructured contract or release may be looming for Kuper.
It seems unlikely that Kuper would be willing to restructure, and it also seems unlikely that the team would be willing to pay so much money to a reserve lineman. But in today's NFL, depth is high valued, so the Broncos win either way.
To have more cap room, or deeper depth at guard?
Hillman vs. Moreno vs. Ball
Going into training camp, Ronnie Hillman will be the team's running back. The Denver Post's Jeff Legwold has confirmed as much.
But nobody has said anything about who will emerge as the team's starter coming out of camp.
Hillman will face competition from veteran Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball, both of whom are bigger, but not nessarily more elusive. Hillman has an edge over Ball because of his experience and an edge over Moreno because of his healthiness (Moreno is still recovering from knee surgery), but he is not guaranteed to win the starting gig.
If he can shake his reputation as a scatback and improve in pass blocking, Hillman has a shot at being the Week 1 starter. It's his job to lose—we'll be watching to see if he does.
Dysert vs. Katz
We all know who Peyton Manning is. And we all know who Brock Osweiler is.
They are the No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks for the Denver Broncos. But who will be the No. 3 QB?
The Broncos may not even carry three QBs, but if they do, it will be either Zac Dysert or Ryan Katz.
Dysert already has a slight edge over Katz because he was drafted (albeit in the seventh round). Katz joined the team as an undrafted free agent out of San Diego State.
If the Broncos chose not to carry a third QB, one of these two will likely land on the practice squad. As of now, Dysert has the edge. But with a strong camp, Katz could upset him.