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AFC minicamp storylines

Most of the stories coming out of organized team activities and minicamps over the next month and a half will be over-analyzed in a slow news cycle. Players don't wear pads, and no hitting is allowed. Veterans tend to take it easy. The most important takeaways involve position battles, rookies earning major roles, veterans returning from injury and the implementation of new offenses.

With that in mind, let's preview the offseason storylines for each AFC team.

Baltimore Ravens


Can Tandon Doss or Deonte Thompson make up enough ground to push Jacoby Jones back into the third receiver role? If not, general manager Ozzie Newsome may pursue a veteran receiver this summer. ... First- and second-rounders Matt Elam and Arthur Brown should have the inside track on the strong safety and inside linebacker jobs, respectively.

Buffalo Bills


It starts with the rookies. Can EJ Manuel clean up his sloppy footwork and mechanics in time to make the quarterback job his to lose entering training camp? ... The Bills believe second-rounder Robert Woods is NFL ready, but he may have to hold off playmaking undrafted free agent Da'Rick Rogers for the starting job opposite Stevie Johnson. ... Will the new regime finally take the training wheels off of running back C.J. Spiller and feature him as the offensive centerpiece?

Cincinnati Bengals


Keep an eye on first-rounder Tyler Eifert and second-rounder Giovani Bernard. The Bengals made it clear during rookie minicamp that both draft picks are headed for major roles as the team seeks playmakers to complement wide receiver A.J. Green. ... It will be interesting to see how linebacker James Harrison looks in a 4-3 defense for the first time in his career.

Cleveland Browns


The Browns insist Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell are on equal footing, but the team's brass expects last year's first-rounder to emerge as the team's starting quarterback. It shouldn't take long before Weeden begins shouldering the greater share of the first-team reps. ... Former hoopster Jordan Cameron is a breakout candidate in the tight end-friendly offense of Rob Chudzinski and Norv Turner. ... The Browns are quietly assembling a nasty defensive front seven to keep up with the rest of the AFC North bruisers.

Denver Broncos


Willis McGahee is on notice with the second-round selection of Montee Ball. If McGahee's knee doesn't bounce all the way back from last year's compression fracture and torn medical collateral ligament, his roster spot could be in jeopardy. ... Have Peyton Manning and Wes Welker developed an easy rapport after working out together at Duke University in April?

Houston Texans


First-rounder DeAndre Hopkins stole the show at rookie minicamp. Will he continue to look "special" once the veterans are mixed in? ... Brian Cushing likely will be held out of spring practices, but a better read on his availability should be known for the start of training camp. ... Second-rounder D.J. Swearinger will have the opportunity to make an impression at free safety while Ed Reed recovers from hip surgery.

Indianapolis Colts


New offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton is bringing West Coast principles to Indianapolis. But how different is his offense from Bruce Arians' vertical attack? ... Can the retooled offensive line keep quarterback Andrew Luck in one piece this season? If Luck is going to emerge as an elite passer, tight end Coby Fleener and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey will have to play better than they did in 2012.

Jacksonville Jaguars


Keep an eye on Maurice Jones-Drew's progress as he works his way back from Lisfranc surgery. He expects to be running full speed by June. ... Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne enter OTAs on equal footing. Neither is impressing as a passer. Could undrafted rookie Matt Scott enter the race by training camp? ... Will fifth-round pick Denard Robinson take on the "slash" role or stick primarily to running back?

Kansas City Chiefs


Chris Ault, the father of the pistol offense, once opined that Alex Smith would be an excellent pistol quarterback. Ault is now consulting with the Chiefs, making Smith an intriguing player to watch. ... Dwayne Bowe is predicting big things for himself and Jamaal Charles in Andy Reid's offense.

Miami Dolphins


Can Ryan Tannehill join the likes of Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III with the increased firepower on offense? Mike Wallace is the biggest difference-maker among all the offseason additions in 2013. ... The Dolphins shoved Reggie Bush out the door to give Lamar Miller a shot at the starting running back job. Can he hold off Daniel Thomas and rookie Mike Gillislee? ... Is No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan heading for a third-down role as a rookie?

New England Patriots


Rob Gronkowski's forearm is the key story to monitor. If antibiotics successfully eradicate his infection, he could be ready for training camp. If another surgery is required, his status could be in jeopardy for the season opener. ... The primary position battle is at wide receiver, where second-rounder Aaron Dobson and fourth-rounder Josh Boyce attempt to make headway against an underwhelming group of veterans such as Donald Jones, Michael Jenkins and Lavelle Hawkins. ... Keep an eye on Shane Vereen's increased role in the backfield.

New York Jets


Can Geno Smith carry his momentum from rookie minicamp over to OTAs, putting distance between himself and the veteran quarterbacks? ... Is Chris Ivory the clear-cut lead back, or will the Jets give Mike Goodson a chance to compete for the job? ... Santonio Holmes may sit out the entire offseason program after two surgeries to repair a Lisfranc fracture. ... Look for an infusion of speed on the defensive front seven.

Oakland Raiders


Will lightning strike twice for Matt Flynn? Fourth-rounder Tyler Wilson could start putting heat on Flynn if his next month is as strong as his performance in rookie minicamp. ... Will it be Rod Streater, Jacoby Ford or Juron Criner opposite Denarius Moore at wide receiver? ... First-rounder D.J. Hayden is in the spotlight as he returns from last year's fluke heart injury.

Pittsburgh Steelers


Can second-rounder Le'Veon Bell overtake Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer for the starting tailback job? ... If third-rounder Markus Wheaton isn't ready for a major role as a vertical threat in the Mike Wallace mold, the Steelers' passing attack could be stifled. ... Is tight end Heath Miller on track for Week 1 after undergoing surgery to repair his anterior cruciate ligament, posterior collaterial ligament and MCL in late December?

San Diego Chargers


Will the Chargers try first-rounder D.J. Fluker at left tackle or settle for an underwhelming King Dunlap/Max Starks combo? ... How will the depth chart shake out at wide receiver with promising young talents Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen behind Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd? ... Will the Chargers sign Dwight Freeney to replace an injured Melvin Ingram?

Tennessee Titans


Is Kenny Britt's knee finally back to 100 percent? If so, the Titans figure to entertain offers for Nate Washington after picking up Justin Hunter in the draft's second round. ... Will Chris Johnson run with more decisiveness now that the Titans have overhauled the interior of the offensive line? ... Can Jake Locker settle down in the pocket and show enough accuracy to take advantage of his surrounding talent?

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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