The first full day of training camp is tomorrow and the two top battles are at defensive end and cornerback.
At the end, it will be third-year player Arthur Jones against second-year player Pernell McPhee. Jones is a bigger body and better at stopping the run, but McPhee is a better pass rusher registering six sacks as a rookie last season.
McPhee, though, will be slowed by the knee injury and Jones had a strong offseason. He has improved his physical conditioning and appears to have the lead over McPhee as far as replacing former starter Cory Redding, now with the Indianapolis Colts.
Cary Williams against Jimmy Smith at cornerback should be a good competition. Williams had a strong season a year ago, and Smith was solid despite an ankle injury early in the season. Like Jones, Smith had a strong offseason and he is a physical specimen. Once he gets more reps with the first team, he could be really special. Unfortunately for Williams, Smith is the top pick from a year ago, so he has to start, if healthy. Williams, though, can at least make it interesting.