Nobody can project any training camp buzz until the NFL draft is complete. So here are some mock camp battles that would ooze intrigue.
St. Louis Rams: Jadeveon Clowney vs. Chris Long
It’s been well-documeted the St. Louis Rams are interested in moving down but there is a possibility they may just stick at #2 and could end up getting uber-talented pass rusher Jadeveon Clowney. Were that to happen it would present an interesting situation for their defensive line. Robert Quinn is the unquestioned starter at right end, which means Clowney would likely battle with veteran Chris Long for the starting job on the left side. Long has had at least 8.5 sacks his past four seasons.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Josh McCown vs. Johnny Manziel
The buzz has picked up in recent days that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have eyes for quarterback Johnny Manziel, so much so that they might even attempt a trade up to get him. That would create a rather intriguing scenario for their training camp. As of now veteran Josh McCown has the starting nod from head coach Lovie Smith. How long with Tampa fans be willing to wait before they demand to see Johnny Football in action and can McCown even hold the rookie off in camp? If anything else the attention will be good for the franchise.
Detroit Lions: Sammy Watkins vs. Golden Tate
Golden Tate signed his contract with the Detroit Lions in hopes of getting more respect and action in the passing game as the compliment to superstar Calvin Johnson. Now it seems his new team has different plans as the NFL draft rumors surround the Lions pushing for a way to jump up the board and grab Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. That can’t feel all too great for Tate who could come into camp with a chip on his shoulder if Detroit accomplishes their goal.
New York Giants: Will Beatty vs. Taylor Lewan
Revamping the offensive line remains a top priority for the New York Giants, which is why names like Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin are popular with them in mock drafts. While Martin is an option for right tackle or guard, Lewan would create some serious interest since he’s best at left tackle. New York already signed veteran Will Beatty to a fresh five-year deal worth over $38 million. His rough 2013 season and rehabbing broken leg could offer Lewan a chance to steal his job.
Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith vs. Derek Carr
Alex Smith still hasn’t signed a new contract with the Kansas City Chiefs. This has created some rather unusual side effects heading into the NFL draft that include the team possibly taking a quarterback in the first round. Among the names that would likely be available for them with the 23rd pick is FresnoState standout Derek Carr. Indeed he looks like a great antithesis to Smith given his cannon arm, having the ability to make any throw. Andy Reid might see his potential as the missing ingredient to his offense while Smith in turn would have to watch another job he thought was safe become threatened by a young, strong-armed kid.