Quickie primer on Cowboys' position battles

July, 10, 2012
7/10/12
11:25
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One of Jason Garrett’s goals is to create as much competition as possible within his team. So you could consider it a good thing that the Cowboys will have plenty of position battles during training camp.

That’s better than considering it evidence that this roster still has a lot of question marks, right?

At any rate, here’s a look at the five most intriguing camp competitions:

ILB -- Bruce Carter/Dan Connor: The Cowboys considered Carter a first-round talent who fell to them early in the second round last year because he was coming off injury. However, they wouldn’t have given Connor a $2.7 million signing bonus if they were certain the speedy Carter would be prepared to start this season. Connor missed all of the offseason workouts while recovering from shoulder surgery, but the Cowboys aren’t concerned about Sean Lee’s former Penn State teammate’s ability to learn the scheme. Predicted winner: Carter

SS – Brodney Pool/Barry Church: Pool replaces Abe Elam as the inexpensive stopgap solution who has experience playing for Rob Ryan. Church, who is entering his third season, has been productive in a limited role, primarily playing a safety/linebacker hybrid position in sub packages. They split time with the starters during offseason workouts. If Church wins the job, Pool probably won’t survive final cuts after getting only $100,000 guaranteed. Predicted winner: Church

DE – Kenyon Coleman/Marcus Spears/Sean Lissemore: Coleman and Spears are solely run stuffers. Lissemore, who was the Cowboys’ most productive defensive lineman on a per-snap basis last season, offers playmaking potential. Can Lissemore be as productive with an increased workload? Predicted winner: Lissemore

C -- Phil Costa/Bill Nagy/Kevin Kowalski: The Cowboys signed two guards in free agency, but they didn’t address the offensive line’s weakest link this offseason. Costa struggled in his first season as a starter last year, and he’ll compete against a couple of unheralded second-year players. Predicted winner: Costa

Third WR – Kevin Ogletree/Andre Holmes/Danny Coale/Dwayne Harris/Raymond Radway/Cole Beasley: This position battle will probably get the most ink, in part because Laurent Robinson was so productive as the third receiver last season and in part because there are so many candidates. If there are this many candidates, are there really any? It wouldn’t be surprising if the Cowboys comb the waiver wire in early September to find their third receiver again. Predicted winner: Holmes

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