Position battles to watch in training camp for Cardinals

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The Arizona Cardinals will officially open their 2022 training camp Tuesday when veterans report for physical exams and their conditioning test. Rookies and quarterbacks have already reported.

As camp opens, there are a few position and roster battles watch. Below are the battles to watch.

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RB2: Darrel Williams vs. Eno Benjamin

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With the departure of Chase Edmonds in free agency, James Conner is now the clear No. 1 back. They signed Darrel Williams in the offseason, who had over 1,000 total yards from scrimmage for the Kansas City Chiefs last season and is a very solid runner, receiver and blocker, but Benjamin has been the talk of the offseason. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury went out of his way to praise him multiple times and even said that he “looks like he could be a starting running back.”

That doesn’t mean he will be the starter but it is clear he has impressed the coaches thus far.

TE2: Maxx Williams vs. Trey McBride

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Zach Ertz is their best tight end. Williams begins training camp on PUP, as he continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered in Week 5 last season. That opens the door for McBride, their second-round rookie.

Backup center: Sean Harlow vs. Lecitus Smith

(AP Photo/John McCoy)

The return of Rodney Hudson makes the backup job seem far less important. Harlow was called upon to start multiple games last season and is now currently the backup center. However, Smith, whom the Cardinals drafted in the sixth round this year, is a player they really like. They have had him working at center all offseason.

Back of the WR room: Andy Isabella vs. Antoine Wesley vs. Greg Dortch

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The top four receivers are set — DeAndre Hopkins, Hollywood Brown, A.J. Green and Rondale Moore. The Cardinals will have a battle for the final two or three roster spots. Wesley emerged late last season. Dortch did some nice things in the slot and can return punts. Isabella just hasn’t been able to crack the rotation. He can play inside and out and also can return punts and kicks.

OLB: Devon Kennard vs. Dennis Gardeck vs. Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders

(AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Markus Golden will hold down one spot on the edge. With Chandler Jones now a member of the Las Vegas Raiders, the other side is wide open. Kennard is the early favorite to play in base downs and Gardeck will get more pass-rushing opportunities.

Thomas gives them inside-outside versatility and Sanders is a pure edge rusher with great speed and acceleration.

CB3: Josh Jackson vs. Antonio Hamilton vs. Breon Borders

The tragic death of Jeff Gladney complicates things at cornerback. Gladney was set to fill Robert Alford’s role as No. 3 CB for the Cardinals. Byron Murphy and Marco Wilson are set as the top two. Hamilton filled in nicely when called upon last season but is more a special teams guy.

Borders and Jackson both have starting experience and could allow Murphy to slide inside to the slot in nickel downs.

QB3: Trace McSorley vs, Jarrett Guarantano

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Cardinals have kept three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster each of the last two seasons. Will they do it again?

McSorley could be the No. 3 on the roster or Guarantano, an undrafted rookie, could be one they develop on the practice squad, saving a roster spot on the final 53 for another position player.

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