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SCOUT'S HONOR: Top 10 training camp battles

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Here's a breakdown of 10 positional battles that I am intrigued to watch during training camp later this summer. 1. St. Louis Position: Cornerback The skinny: was a little inconsistent last season, especially in the playoffs. The are excited about their depth and aren't afraid to replace McCleon if he's outplayed this summer. has a lot of talent and is a natural playmaker, but will gamble at times. It won't be a surprise if Bly wins the starting spot, but he must maintain consistency to keep it. showed potential as a rookie. And rookie Travis Fisher has excellent upside and matchup skills, but must prove he can handle the jump in competition. 2. Tampa Bay Position: Cornerback The skinny: made a lot of progress last season, but isn't a natural playmaker. That's why no one will be surprised if passes Kelly on the depth chart with a strong camp. Smith is an explosive athlete who has the potential to make a lot of plays on the ball.
Scout's Honor
Brian DeLucia is a respected college and pro personnel consultant around the NFL. Formerly a consultant with Rivals.com and Pro Football Digest.com, Brian enjoys his second season with FOXSports.com providing commentary around the NFL and NFL Draft.

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  • 3. New York Position: Left defensive end The skinny: had a disappointing 2001 season. He didn't play the run very well and failed to generate a consistent pass rush. That's why they signed veteran and drafted Bryan Thomas. White is more proven against the run, which could give him the edge on the base alignment. This should be a solid battle if Ellis pushes himself hard during camp. The ' defense will be bolstered if Ellis can be pushed to his potential. 4. Green Bay Position: Wide receiver The skinny: There's and a bunch of intriguing young receivers behind him. has an excellent chance to produce a lot of receptions in this offense due to his physical tools if he can handle his assignments. Rookie Javon Walker has vast downfield potential. But don't forget about and . Both had strong mini-camps. The production of these guys will determine whether the return to prominence in the NFC. 5. Dallas Position: Quarterback The skinny: made some strides late last season and progressed during the off-season, but rookie Chad Hutchinson is gaining ground quickly. Everyone is excited about Hutchinson's physical tools and it wouldn't be a surprise if Hutchinson passes Carter on the depth chart.
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  • 6. Detroit Position: Quarterback The skinny: The are being careful with Joey Harrington and don't want to bruise the ego of , but Harrington won't feel comfortable sitting around in the shadows for long. Harrington is a leader and will grasp this team's confidence very quickly. 7. Cincinnati Position: Quarterback The skinny: is just an average quarterback, but he didn't get many favors from an inexperience group of wide receivers last season. He'll really be on the spot this season and faces a stiff battle from . Frerotte has better tools, but has been very streaky throughout his career. wants to be part of the battle, but he'll have to play "lights-out" football this summer to even be considered. 8. Oakland Position: Cornerback The skinny: is penciled in as a starter, but it's a matter of time before rookie Phillip Buchanon wins a spot in the lineup. The need Buchanon to quickly emerge as a playmaker in their hopes of a Super Bowl run. 9. San Diego Position: Quarterback The skinny: can be erratic at times due to his limitations, which isn't a trait Marty Schottenheimer endorses. The big question is whether they could hide ' limitations to be effective throughout a full season. Brees will have some growing pains due to his inexperience, but he should be a solid fit in the ' philosophy. 10. Buffalo Position: Strong safety The skinny: This spot is critical for run support in Gregg Williams' scheme. Jenkins is an experienced veteran who plays aggressively against the run, but is too erratic as a tackler. Don't be surprised if rookie Coy Wire seizes the starting spot here. His style of play is an ideal fit for Williams and would likely show more consistency.
    Tagged: Bengals, Cowboys, Lions, Packers, Raiders, Rams, Jets, Buccaneers, Chargers, Jon Kitna, Akili Smith, Gus Frerotte, Mike McMahon, Charles Lee, Robert Ferguson, Donald Driver, Dre' Bly, Shaun Ellis, Doug Flutie, Drew Brees

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