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Dallas Cowboys position battles at OTAs and training camp

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Over the next few weeks all 32 teams begin their organized team activities (OTAs), where the rookies and veterans will finally be able to take the field together.

The 2015 NFL rookies have already got a little taste of the speed and intensity that NFL teams practice at during their rookie minicamps, but everything will be intensified when they are able to join the veterans during OTAs.

This is really a first chance for the organization and fans to see who will be replacing certain players that left the team during free agency and who is going to be an upgrade at a particular position.

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During the OTAs and leading into training camp, the coaching staff's of all NFL teams will be trying to determine who is going to win the starting spot at each individual position by watching the performances of each individual player.

It is a time to study and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of both individual players competing at individual positions and how the team performs together as a whole.

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Rookies come in trying to claim a starting spot by beating out veteran players and veteran players are trying to secure their spot on the team and hopefully move up the depth chart to receive more playing time.

Position battles are fun to watch for the organization and fans alike, because it's how the team tries to improve from year to year.

There are a lot of position battles that you should be keeping a close eye on when the Cowboys start their OTAs and especially when the players properly put the pads on during training camp.

Let's take a look at a few players I'll be paying particular attention to and I'll add my own personal thoughts about who might not only be earning a starting spot, but could be earning more playing time too.


Tony Romo is the unquestioned starter and could be protected by one of the best offensive lines in the NFL to help keep them healthy.

The position battle I'm going to keep an eye on is for the number two spot. Brandon Weeden and Dustin Vaughn are both competing to become a backup to Romo. I kind of got the feeling that the Cowboys are ready to move on from Weeden and will give Vaughn every opportunity to prove himself.

The Cowboys will more than likely be on the lookout for a veteran backup also.

Running back

Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden, Ryan Williams, and Lance Dunbar are all currently on the Cowboys roster and going to be battling to see who can separate themselves.

The Cowboys seem to be pretty excited about what McFadden might be able to do, but I think as long as Joseph Randle can mature as a player and keep his off the field problems under control, hecan win the starting spot.

Randle looked pretty good last year when he received his opportunities and I would really like to see what he can do behind this offensive line.

Wide receiver

The top three spots are pretty secure with Dez Bryant, Terrence Williams, and Cole Beasley, but look for Devin Street to challenge Williams for that number two spot.

There also be a battle between some of the undrafted receivers to try and claim one last receiver spot and contribute on special teams as a returner.

Tight end

James Hanna is in the last year of his contract and Gavin Escobar has yet to really establish himself in the Cowboys offense. Keep a close eye on Geoff Swaim, who is trying to unseat either Escobar or Hanna.

The Cowboys thought enough of him to trade back into the 2015 NFL draft to select him with one of their seventh round picks. They had to give up a sixth round draft pick in the 2016 draft.

Offensive line

This is pretty set and the thing that most people will be keeping a very close eye on is where La'el Collins will be lining up.

I personally suspect that he will receive playing time at both left guard and right tackle. A lot of people believe that he will step right into the starting lineup at left guard, but I don't think that Ron Leary will give up his starting spot without a fight.

Collins will also receive plenty of reps at the right tackle position because Doug Free will still be recovering from off-season surgery.

Collins' versatility to play two spots makes this position battle even more interesting because of the number of players involved.

Defensive end

The Cowboys might have a difficult decision to make when it comes to the defensive end position. Greg Hardy will undoubtedly face some sort of suspension, but the duration is still unknown.

Look for DeMarcus Lawrence to start on one side and probably Jeremy Mincey starting on the opposite side.

With the additions of rookies Randy Gregory and Ryan Russell, Rod Martinelli finally has bodies to rotate in and out of the lineup to keep his "rush men" fresh and constantly harassing the opposing quarterbacks.

This is an interesting position battle to watch to see how Martinelli is going to use his new defensive toys.


Rolando McClain is more than likely penciled in as starter at the middle linebacker spot, while Sean Lee will be playing next to him playing the weak side linebacker spot.

This leaves the other linebackers to battle for the strong side starting linebacker spot.

The Cowboys seemed to be throwing numbers at the linebacker position with 11 linebackers currently on the roster.

I'm personally looking for Anthony Hitchens to win a strong side linebacker spot, but no matter who starts at the strong side Hitchens will have a role to play on defense.


The only for sure starter at the cornerback position so far is Orlando Scandrick.

Brandon Carr still possibly could be cut because of his contract situation. Morris Claiborne is trying to come back from a serious knee injury.

Byron Jones could possibly start but there still are a lot of questions remaining about the corner position.

This position, much like running back, will have a lot of people following closely to see what happens.


Barry Church and JJ Wilcox are likely to remain the starting safeties in 2015.

A player I'm going to keep an eye on is Byron Jones. Depending on how the entire cornerback position shakes out, Jones could be that single high free safety that the Cowboys have been looking for.

If Brandon Carr can get his contract situation worked out and Morris Claiborne can come back healthy and ready to go, the Cowboys secondary could look drastically improved in 2015 and cause problems for opposing teams.

These are a few of the position battles that I will be keeping a close eye on starting with the OTA's and continuing into training camp.

With so many new names and faces joining the Cowboys this off-season it will be interesting to see who can set themselves apart and earn a starting position.

Is there any specific players are specific position you will be watching closely?

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