NFL training camps are just a couple weeks away, and with them will come summer competitions that could shape the 2023 season. From to veteran wide receivers vying for snaps on contenders, there are no shortage of position groups worth monitoring as all 32 teams prepare to hit the practice fields once again.
With that in mind, here are 11 of the top camp battles to watch:
Every indication from the 49ers is that Purdy will start if healthy; his 7-0 record in games he started and finished as a rookie has Kyle Shanahan claiming he's NFL passer, his natural athleticism and make him a sleeper to open the year at QB1.he's got franchise-leading poise. The question is whether his surgically repaired elbow will allow him to take meaningful practice reps in the lead-up to the season. Darnold is the most experienced, entering with 55 career starts, and stands to benefit from Shanahan's system. But Lance is the most physically gifted of the trio, even coming off a starting debut lost to his own injury. Though he remains an unknown as an
Owner Jim Irsay and coach Shane Steichen have advertised Richardson as an instant contributor, with the former declaring the No. 4 overall pick an eventual 2023 starter and Steichen giving the Florida product first-team reps at some of the first offseason practices. At the end of the day, Richardson's unteachable size (6-4, 244) and athleticism was always going to push him into the lineup sooner rather than later. But Minshew has already done it at the NFL level, most recently under Steichen in Philadelphia. His vision and trademark moxie could be enough to keep things interesting through the preseason.
This one wouldn't necessarily qualify as "exciting." In fact, most rightfully look at this competition and already realize what it says about the state of Tampa Bay post-Tom Brady. But it's a fight for one of 32 starting QB jobs nonetheless. Trask has previously gotten endorsements from ex-coach Bruce Arians, but Mayfield has been there, done that, even flashing some energy as a street pickup amid the Rams' collapse in 2022. An X-factor might be a late veteran addition such as Carson Wentz, who's been alongside former Bucs coach Jon Gruden.
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Like most teams, Miami is set to utilize a backfield rotation. But Achane is a wild card, bringing electricity as a third-rounder to pair with the speedy but fragile Mostert and versatile reserve Wilson. Then there's the added element of their reported Dalvin Cook pursuit. If the former Vikings star joins the fold, we might really get a squeeze on change-of-pace options.
After letting Jamaal Williams walk in free agency and dealing D'Andre Swift during the draft, the Lions figure to roll with a one-two punch here. But which of the new additions will command the bulk of the carries? Gibbs the rookie offers more upside as a home-run hitter, but Montgomery is the more established name on a three-year, $18 million deal.
Robinson is poised to be Atlanta's future as the No. 8 overall pick. His combo of size and speed should draw immediate carries in Arthur Smith's run-first offense. But Allgeier was a natural finding holes as a 1,000-yard rookie starter. He's an underrated candidate to retain snaps -- and perhaps push Robinson into an initial third-down role -- with a strong summer.
Patrick Mahomes proved effortlessly in 2022 that he doesn't need a traditional No. 1 WR to own the NFL, though of course tight end Travis Kelce makes a difference. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is all but locked into a starting gig, but with JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman gone, snaps are up for grabs. Toney easily has the most juice as a new Swiss Army Knife for Andy Reid, but James quietly thrived as a high-volume target with the Giants late last year.
Joe Schoen heard Giants fans' pleas for WR help and decided to buy up almost every mid-tier veteran on the market. Of course TE Darren Waller should be the biggest bonus for Daniel Jones, but it's anyone's guess how things will look out wide. Hodgins was reliable, if unspectacular, late in 2022; and both Slayton and Shepard have a history in town. Slayton, meanwhile, is . Campbell's got major utility-man speed but like Crowder has to prove he can stay healthy. Ditto for Hyatt, who profiles as more of a field-stretcher.
Reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year Garrett Wilson is a lock to serve as Aaron Rodgers' No. 1. Beyond him, it's a crowded group vying for the No. 2/3 jobs. Lazard and Cobb are all but guaranteed spots due to their familiarity with A-Rod from Green Bay, while Hardman offers speed but couldn't find a consistent role in Kansas City. Davis is the wild card, previously drawing Rodgers' endorsement but missing significant time due to injury in each of his two seasons since leaving the Titans.
If there's one camp battle that deserves far more attention than it'll get, it's this. Technically, Brown and Becton are penciled into the left and right tackle jobs, respectively. But you might as well consider all three of these veterans in the mix; Brown is soon to be 38 and missed five games last year, Becton has played just one game the last two years, and Turner hasn't played a full season since 2019. While everyone talks up Aaron Rodgers' weaponry in New York, it's fair to be concerned with his protection on the edges.
Philadelphia stayed aggressive coming off a Super Bowl loss this offseason, bolstering its defensive front and taking some high-upside flyers at running back. The one area with more uncertainty is safety, where C.J. Gardner-Johnson and Marcus Epps both left via free agency. Blankenship was composed as a rookie, and Edmunds has experience from Pittsburgh, but Brown, a feisty third-round pick, could make his way into the conversation.