Things are heating up in Napa. The Rookies, first year players, and quarterbacks have arrived and the rest of the team will be there on Friday. When they hit the field on Saturday as a full squad, there will be some camp battles that will heat up as well.
1. Right tackle
This one is a free-for-all. Marshall Newhouse appears to have the lead at the moment. His primary competition could be Austin Howard. Then there’s rookie fourth round pick David Sharpe and second-year man Vadal Alexander.
2. Defensive end
With Mario Edwards Jr returning healthy, the other interior defensive end spot will be a battle primarily between Denico Autry and Jihad Ward. Over the past couple years, Autry has been doing his best to prove he is worthy of being a full time starter, but still finds himself as a rotational player and spot starter. Ward was the team’s second round pick last season and is looking to bounce back after a poor rookie campaign.
3. Nickel corner
This one will be between rookie first round pick Gareon Conley and former starter TJ Carrie. This is the role Conley is pegged for as the team’s top draft pick, but Carrie will look to prove he is still the best option inside of starters Sean Smith and David Amerson.
4. Nose tackle
Justin Ellis has the job as of now. The team didn’t make any major moves to upgrade this position, leaving Ellis and second year former undrafted tackle Darius Latham as the primary challenger for the job.
5. Backup quarterback
The incumbent is second-year man Connor Cook. The challenger EJ Manuel. Throughout OTA’s, Cook was the second teamer. Then Manuel began familiarizing himself with the playbook and soon he was showing up with some impressive passes. He saw some time with the second team in minicamp. It will be an interesting battle.