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