The 2013 NFL Draft added nine more players to the Miami Dolphins roster and set up some intriguing position battles to watch heading into training camp this summer. Here's an early look at some of the best:
1. Guard. Right now, the Dolphins seem to have four players looking to win the two starting guard positions. Incumbents John Jerry and Richie Incognito could both be in risk of losing their starting slots, or being moved to different positions, if free agent signing Lance Louis and rookie Dallas Thomas are able to get healthy.
2. Defensive end. Cameron Wake is number one. Number two seems to still be Jared Odrick But, the Dolphins are starting to see a back up behind those two. Olivier Vernon flashed at times last year before hitting the rookie wall. The team jumped up in the draft to grab Dion Jordan, so he's sure to get plenty of opportunity to play as well. Derrick Shelby looked good in limited playing time last year, and could also be developing into an effective piece of the defense. How Miami works out the playing time for everyone will be worth watching.
3. Kicker. Miami drafted a kicker in the fifth round (Caleb Sturgis) to provide competition for Dan Carpenter. That's exactly what they will get.
4. Linebacker. This may not actually be a position battle, but it's something to keep an eye on this preseason. The Dolphins have completely reworked the linebacker corps this offseason, and how they are going to fit the pieces into place will be an important part of training camp.
5. Receiver. The top three receivers are set, with Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline, and Brandon Gibson taking those spots. However, the group behind them will be a fun watch. Rishard Matthews, Jeff Fuller, Armon Binns, Brian Tyms, and all of the undrafted free agents will likely be looking to claim just three spots. Add in Marcus Thigpen, who will make the team and could be moved into the receiving corps, and everyone could be fighting for just two slots.
6. Cornerback. The corner position battle nearly mirrors the receiver battle. Brent Grimes, Jamar Taylor, and Richard Marshall seem set to make the team as the top three. Behind them, Nolan Carroll, Will Davis, Don Jones, Julian Posey, R.J. Stanford, and DeAndre Presley will all be fighting for positions. Dimitri Patterson could be the odd man out early in this battle as the Dolphins look at his $4.6 million salary cap number.
7. Running Back. Lamar Miller enters the season as the starter, but behind him, the battle will be worth watching. Daniel Thomas currently holds the second position, but rookie Mike Gillislee could come on to take over the second position. If he does, Thomas could lose more than just his depth chart position - it could be the end of his time in Miami.
8. Long Snapper. I know, it's hard to get excited about a long snapper competition. But, when you have a two time Pro Bowler at the position, then sign a free agent to the same position, it's notable. The Dolphins did just that when they signed Patrick Scales to compete with John Denney.