Training camp is quickly approaching for the Baltimore Ravens and the players will soon be competing for a spot on the 53-man roster. Many changes will be made in the next month. Here are three position battles to watch during camp.
Backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor is going into his last season of his contract with the Ravens, but rookie Keith Wenning has the talent to take over the backup spot sooner rather than later. This battle is not as heated as others, and the Ravens will likely keep two backups. However, after Joe Flacco finished last season with 22 interceptions, the Ravens might want some more reliability.
If not this year, I think Wenning will achieve great success in his future with the Ravens. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak might bring some positive results with Flacco, but Wenning is definitely a potential backup contender. I even see Wenning replacing Flacco later down the road when his contract ends and I expect great things from him.
One of the major battles to keep an eye on during camp is cornerback. Lardarius Webb is back to normal after a complete recovery from his torn ACL, and he has taken leadership of the defense this offseason. Jimmy Smith had the best season of his career and is expected to perform the same this year. The two are basically definite starters and their only competition is who will be named the No. 1 cornerback.
Behind Webb and Smith, the Ravens have Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson. New additions include Aaron Ross and Dominique Franks. There are also three rookies: Sammy Seamster, Deji Olatoye, and Tramain Jacobs. Only one rookie will probably make it to the 53-man roster, but Brown, Jackson, Ross, and Franks will be fighting for the third cornerback slot. This decision will have significant impact because many defenses today use three cornerbacks to battle pass-heavy formations.
Another intriguing competition to watch is defensive tackle. After losing Arthur Jones to the Indianapolis Colts, the Ravens have Brandon Williams next on the chart although he only played 93 snaps last year. Rookie Timmy Jernigan from Florida State has serious potential to become a starter this year. He played as nose tackle in college, totaling six sacks and 108 tackles in two seasons.
Haloti Ngata is currently the starting nose tackle, but he has versatility for another defensive spot. Jernigan played a major role in the BCS Championship run for the Seminoles and might have the athleticism the Ravens are looking for on the defensive line. I think the competition between Williams and Jernigan will be the most interesting to see, and it certainly affects the entire defensive line. Which position battles are you anxious to see?