We have finished up the positional breakdowns with training camp beginning. In fact, we featured some key position battles at each position. But there is no reason not to put those battles all in one place.
Here are the positions and players looking to land key roles on the team. The current starter is listed first.
To start things off, it looks like it will be between Powers and Cason, both of whom have been starters already in the league. Powers played under Bruce Arians for the Colts. Cason came in on a one-year free agent deal. Arenas was acquired via trade this offseason for Anthony Sherman. Jamell Fleming was a third round draft pick in 2012, who started off looking like a future star, but then found himself in the coaches' doghouse after his effort waned.
Mathieu is an intriguing player, drafted in the third round. He is a playmaker, but is learning the position, as he played cornerback in college. Johnson, a career backup thus far, and Bell, a veteran who is nearing the end of his career, are penciled in as starters right now, but will one or both be able to keep Mathieu out of the starting lineup?
This is my personal pick to watch in particular. Schofield is an unfulfilled talent because of injuries. Alexander is a career backup and stud special teamer. he is also playing outside linebacker for the first time. However, he has a motor that doesn't stop, he is smart and he is fast. He is the starter entering camp. Schofield has the potential to be a great sack artist, but sometimes struggles in other phases of the position. He is in his contract year, so he really wants to make an impact. Alexander does, too. Which will prevail?
While it is expected that Floyd will take the next step, and that Roberts is best utilized as a slot guy, we will see who gets the "starter" label. As for the number of balls thrown their way, with Bruce Arians and his pass heavy offense, both should get their share. Floyd finished the season strong. Roberts faded after a strong start.
RB: Rashard Mendenhall vs. the rest
Arians believes in Mendenhall, but he has not been the same back that took Arians to the Super Bowl. He is, though, a solid three-down back. Behind him is Ryan Williams, who has only played in five games in two seasons, and a pair of rookies drafted this year in Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington. Arians expects his backs to run the ball and be able to pass block. Mendenhall is solid in that. Taylor comes out of Stanford with the reputation that he blocks well. Both Taylor and Ellington are very disciplined in their running lane assignments. Will it be Mendenhall as expected? Can Williams show his talent is more than his luck with injuries? Will the young guys step up early and make an impression?
We know that Rob Housler will be the primary tight end. However, Arians loves to play with two tight ends on the field. King is the veteran, but enters camp with an injury (no word if he is ready to go). He is due $1.5 million this season. There options behind him. There is Jim Dray, who we know is versatile enough to play in line, out wide and in the backfield. Rookie D.C. Jefferson looks the part. Will the veteran King hold his spot, or will a younger, cheaper version pass him up?
More from Revenge of the Birds:
- Tyrann Mathieu called one of the top rookies in 2013 to watch
- 2013 Arizona Cardinals training camp: Previewing the quarterbacks
- Arizona Cardinals have 3 of NFC's best position battles
- Jonathan Cooper still unsigned: battle of language or avoiding the signing bonus?
- 2013 Arizona Cardinals training camp: Is Levi Brown's starting job in jeopardy?
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