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Top 25 AFC position battles: Who's winning?

Before training camp started, we broke down the Top 25 Position Battles in the NFC and the AFC. With the final day of NFL Network's "Inside Training Camp Live" taking place Tuesday, it's a good time to check on how things are shaking out so far in the AFC.

25. Kicker battles!

Miami Dolphins rookie Caleb Sturgis got over an early injury, so he should be the favorite over incumbent Dan Carpenter. ... In Cleveland, Brandon Bogotay and Shayne Graham are in a dead heat. Excitement is building throughout the nation. ... Rian Lindell has been more accurate than rookie Dustin Hopkins early in Buffalo.

24. New York Jets tight end: Kellen Winslow vs. Jeff Cumberland

Cumby, Dan Hanzus' favorite player, remains listed as the team's starter. The Jets seem to know that limiting Winslow's snaps is their only chance to keep him healthy.

23. Baltimore Ravens No. 3 wide receiver: Tandon Doss vs. Deonte Thompson vs. ...

We liked Aaron Mellette as a sleeper, but he's listed as a fifth-stringer. (Although Mellette got some time with the first team Tuesday.) Thompson has stood out during practices and practiced plenty with the first team. He's a clear leader early and someone to watch.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers No. 3 wide receiver: Markus Wheaton vs. Jerricho Cotchery vs. Plaxico Burress

Burress looks like the No. 5 receiver at best. Wheaton and Cotchery are competing for snaps in the slot. Wheaton has proven to be a quick study and is exceptionally fast. We like his chances to win major snaps.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars cornerbacks

Journeyman Alan Ball and rookie third-round draft pick Dwayne Gratz are listed as the the starters, just like they were to start camp. Gratz has impressed the coaching staff, but they don't have a lot of choices.

20. Cincinnati Bengals No. 2 wide receiver: Mohamed Sanu vs. Brandon Tate vs. Marvin Jones

Andrew Hawkins could be out for a long time because of his ankle injury, so there are snaps open in the slot. Sanu is the starter, but Jones has reportedly stood out more in practices. Tate might not even make the team.

19. Baltimore Ravens cornerback: Jimmy Smith vs. Corey Graham

This one remains too close to call, although the team's official website reports Graham is probably playing too well to lose his job. Lardarius Webb looks like he'll be healthy enough to start. This could be a team strength for the Ravens.

18. Indianapolis Colts wide receiver: T.Y. Hilton vs. Darrius Heyward-Bey

Shocker: Heyward-Bey is hurt again. (This time it's a knee sprain.) Hilton is one of our favorite breakout choices. He's been practicing on the outside and in the slot; DHB's injury might open up the No. 2 job.

17. Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver: Jon Baldwin vs. Donnie Avery

Baldwin has been a camp hero for the second consecutive year and looks headed for a starting job. Avery was listed as a backup on the first depth chart.

16. Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker: Arthur Brown vs. Jameel McClain vs. Daryl Smith

McClain is out indefinitely with a neck injury. Smith and Brown should start, unless Josh Bynes someone pulls off a big surprise.

15. Patriots tight ends

Jake Ballard might not even make the team as he struggles to recover from his serious knee injury. Daniel Fells is probably the No. 1 tight end in the clubhouse, but undrafted rookie Zach Sudfeld is practicing a lot with the starters. Sudfeld could wind up starting.

14. Patriots wide receivers

Rookies Josh Boyce, Aaron Dobson, and impressive undrafted free agent Kenbrell Thompkins might all wind up playing meaningful snaps for the Patriots. Julian Edelman is back healthy, which could mean Michael Jenkins doesn't even make the team. Thompkins particularly has opened eyes. (He was one of our most underrated camp storylines on the ATL Podcast this week.)

13. Dolphins defensive end: Dion Jordan vs. Olivier Vernon vs. Jared Odrick

Jordan is being primarily used as a situational pass rusher. He's over his shoulder injury and coming along well. Vernon has really stood out; the Dolphins have high hopes for him. Odrick might primarily play on the inside.

12. San Diego Chargers wide receiver battle royale

Danario Alexander was listed as the starter opposite Malcom Floyd, but Alexander was lost for the season Tuesday with a torn ACL. Vincent Brown missed a week of practice, but he's back now and still is listed ahead of $5 million third-teamer Robert Meachem. We haven't heard a ton about rookie Keenan Allen. This battle is still wide open.

11. Cincinnati Bengals cornerback: Dre Kirkpatrick fighting uphill

Last year's first-round pick is healthy, but he's fully expected to remain behind Terence Newman, Leon Hall and Adam "Pacman" Jones on the depth chart. Being a No. 4 cornerback almost is more worrisome than being hurt.

10. Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker: Bjoern Werner vs. Erik Walden

Werner primarily is lining up as the backup behind Robert Mathis. It looks like Werner will be a sub-package player, with Walden in the starting job. Things could change.

9. Kansas City Chiefs cornerback: Dunta Robinson vs. Sean Smith

Smith signed a big contract as a free agent and has overtaken Robinson on the depth chart. Both players are going to be on the field plenty, but Robinson's status as an organized team activity starter was a nod to his veteran status.

8. Indianapolis Colts running back: Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Vick Ballard

Bradshaw remains on the active/PUP list, which isn't a great sign as he recovers from his foot injury. He might not play in the preseason. This is looking like a running back committee, with Bradshaw possibly starting the year as a backup.

7. Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Jabaal Sheard vs. Barkevious Mingo

Sheard and Mingo reportedly are both enjoying great camps. If that continues, Mingo should remain a backup that plays a ton on passing downs like Bruce Irvin last year in Seattle.

6. Jacksonville Jaguars: Blaine Gabbert vs. Chad Henne

Gabbert and Henne are listed as co-starters on the depth chart. There hasn't been a ton of separation during practices; perhaps Henne has the slight edge. The preseason should decide this one.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker: Jason Worilds vs. Jarvis Jones

Jones might beat Pittsburgh's historical tendency to bring rookies along slowly. He's off to a fast start, although Worilds opened camp as the starter.

4. New York Jets quarterback: Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith

The tie goes to the rookie, and most practice observers believe that Smith has at least tied Sanchez. (Or out-played him.) We've still got a long way to go in this one.

3. Denver Broncos Running Back: Montee Ball vs. Ronnie Hillman vs. Knowshon Moreno

Ball surprisingly has failed to separate from the pack thus far, although we still like him to win the job. For now, Hillman is in the top spot.

2. Oakland Raiders

Rod Streater is leading the charge of the wide receiver competition thus far. The starting linebacker crew looks like rookie Sio Moore, Nick Roach and Kevin Burnett. Tyler Wilson has fallen all the way to fourth in the quarterback battle, which is a big disappointment. Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor have both enjoyed solid camps.

1. Buffalo Bills quarterback: EJ Manuel vs. Kevin Kolb

Manuel hasn't been perfect, but he's made more plays than Kolb in Bills camp. Buffalo's staff can't stop glowing when talking about Manuel. The preseason will be huge, but things are slightly trending toward the rookie.

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