Players are reporting and NFL training camps are getting underway this week. Today’s Top Ten Tuesday highlights the NFL’s top position battles for 2020. There’ll be plenty of competition this summer, but the focus is mainly on skill positions on offense.
10. Raiders quarterback
Let’s start with a potential quarterback competition that might not be much of a competition thanks to the impact of COVID-19. With no offseason training, an abbreviated training camp, and no preseason games, Derek Carr is the clear favorite to start for the Raiders as he enters Year 3 in Jon Gruden’s offense. However, Gruden wants to win, and he loves Marcus Mariota, who is a quick study with immense talent—if he thinks Mariota adds another element on offense, don’t be surprised if this turns into a battle in August.
9. 49ers running back
Raheem Mostert will not hold out of Niners training camp after the team granted his wishes with a revised contract. It’ll be interesting to see which running back starts and/or gets the most touches in Kyle Shanahan’s offense between Mostert and Tevin Coleman. Mostert was the more explosive option in 2019, but Coleman suffered a high-ankle sprain early in the year. Jeff Wilson Jr. and Jerick McKinnon are also in the running back mix for the Niners.
8. Dolphins quarterback
Highly acclaimed first-round rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa is ready to go for the start of camp despite a devastating hip injury suffered with the Crimson Tide last fall, and he figures to have a legit shot at beating out Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting gig during camp. It’ll likely come down to whether Tua is simply too good to keep off the field early in his career. Former first-rounder Josh Rosen could be a wild-card third option in the competition, too.
7. Raiders wide receiver
After signing Nelson Agholor and drafting Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards this offseason, the Raiders are suddenly incredibly deep at wide receiver. Las Vegas already had Tyrell Williams and Hunter Renfrow as starters, but any combination of the five could conceivable start and rotate into the offense this season.
6. Colts running back
Marlon Mack is coming off another strong season for the Colts, with 247 carries for 1,091 yards and eight touchdowns. However, Indy snatched former Wisconsin star Jonathan Taylor in the second round of the draft. The Colts want to run the ball a lot under Frank Reich, and they have talked of a 1A and 1B situation with Mack and Taylor; but it’s also noteworthy from a fantasy football perspective that one guy should push closer to the 225-250+ carry mark in 2020.
5. Chargers running back
The Chargers might run the ball a ton this season, and Austin Ekeler will clearly be the leader in the backfield when you account for his role as a receiver. That said, prime early-down work and goal-line carries could be up for grabs between Justin Jackson and fourth-round rookie Joshua Kelley. Jackson might have the advantage in a shortened offseason, but Kelley is a talented back that shouldn’t be counted out.
4. Bills cornerback
Tre’Davious White is undoubtedly one of the top corners in football, and opposing quarterbacks might decide it’s best to just stay away from him as much as possible moving forward. The spot opposite White will be critical for a contending Buffalo squad that added veteran corner Josh Norman this offseason. Levi Wallace is probably the favorite at the No. 2 cornerback position, though Norman and E.J. Gaines will create good competition.
3. Rams running back
Sean McVay has already indicated that the Rams will go with a committee backfield approach this season, but he’s obviously shown the offense can utilize a workhorse runner with the way Todd Gurley did damage over the past few years for LA. Second-round rookie Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown, and John Kelly will all be vying for snaps throughout camp; Akers likely has the best chance to become the clear top guy of the group.
2. Bears quarterback
The Bears were aggressive in acquiring Nick Foles via a trade with the Jaguars in an offseason with a number of quarterback options available on the open market. Chicago has a potentially-elite defense in place, along with a skill position group led by the phenomenal Allen Robinson—the quarterback should be in a spot to play well in Matt Nagy’s offense. The battle between Foles and former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky will be one of the top storylines in the coming weeks.
1. Patriots quarterback
How much does Cam Newton have left? We’ll find out this summer and fall, as the former league MVP landed in an ideal spot to play at a high level. Newton is obviously very determined after the Panthers let him go, but the starting job is not going to be handed to him. New England remains high on 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham, and Brian Hoyer probably knows the offense better than anyone in the quarterback room. Many eyes will be on Foxboro throughout camp.