- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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Examining the Arizona Cardinals' roster:
Arizona will carry two active quarterbacks -- Palmer and Stanton -- again this season. Thomas likely will spend all 16 games on the bench. He’s the future of the position for the Cardinals, so he’ll be given plenty of time to learn from the sideline but won’t see the field unless there’s an emergency.
RUNNING BACK (4)
This will be Ellington’s year to star as the other three will be his backup singers. Taylor and Dwyer will battle it out for the second running back spot, while Hughes might end up being a bruising third-down and short-yardage back.
WIDE RECEIVER (5)
The top three positions are set at receiver, and John Brown and his speed will see plenty of snaps. Walt Powell might be the odd man out when it comes to breaking the four-receiver sets.
OFFENSIVE LINE (8)
The center and left side of the line are pretty much set unless Cooper doesn’t return to camp at 100 percent. The right side might go through a shake-up or two throughout camp, especially as the rotating battle at right guard continues.
TIGHT END (4)
Troy Niklas (injured)
The top three are almost guaranteed to make the roster, but Housler will have to show he can play within the framework of what coach Bruce Arians expects out of this new crop of receivers. In the long run, Arians’ biggest decision will be which two should start because any of them can fit that role.
DEFENSIVE LINE (7)
Alameda Ta'amu (injured)
Why fix the defensive line if it’s not broken? Statistically speaking, the line was the best in the NFL last year, and adding Martin and Stinson will only make it better. Williams and Ta’amu will continue to rotate, and the two rookies will earn their stripes eventually.
OUTSIDE LINEBACKER (5)
This might be among the most hotly contested position in training camp because last year’s starters -- Abraham and Shaughnessy -- return, as do Acho and Okafor, who were injured in 2013. They’ll give the two vets a run for their money and Benard also has the skill to push for a job.
INSIDE LINEBACKER (4)
Besides right tackle, there isn’t another position with as many questions as inside linebacker. Any of the four can win the starting job, but all four might be used in a rotation.
Peterson and Cromartie are the starters, and the rest will be on call in case something happens.
Tyrann Mathieu (injured)
Training camp will be beneficial for Bucannon and Jefferson, who’ll be fighting for a starting job. The depth at safety is loaded with talent, even while the Cardinals wait for Mathieu to return to the field.
Zastudil has been steady and strong the past few seasons, and this year shouldn’t be any different.
Feely will have to fight for his job again during camp, but this time it’ll be throughout instead of just the final week like he did last year. Youth might end up trumping experience at kicker, but if Feely can be consistent through camp, he has shown he can help the Cardinals.
Leach, who’s as consistent as they come in the Cardinals’ locker room, will be their long-snapper until he either says it’s time to retire or he can’t walk anymore. Whichever comes first.