With training camp underway, the competition is on. Who will take the starting jobs for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2016? It's no secret the Jags have question marks at certain positions. Here are the key training camp battles to pay attention to for 2016.
1) Left Tackle: Luke Joeckel vs Kelvin Beachum - Luke Joeckel is approaching an important season for his NFL career. He has not lived up to his second overall draft potential, and this year he will be challenged in a major way. The Jags brought in former Pittsburgh Steeler, Kelvin Beachum for a reason. They need a left tackle who can protect Blake Bortles and take on the likes of J.J. Watt and Jurrell Casey. Both Joeckel and Beachum have moved all over the offensive line during OTAs and now training camp. The most likely scenario is Beachum supplants Joackel as the Jags starting left tackle and Joeckel moves to right tackle. If by some chance Joeckel is the Jags starting left tackle week one, the plan did not work out.
2) Cornerback: Prince Amukamara vs Davon House - It's no secret the Jags expect their 2016 third overall pick Jalen Ramsey to assume the starting cornerback position, but who will play opposite to him? The Jags brought in Prince Amukamara this offseason and should compete right away. Though he never quite lived up to his first round hype in New York, he was still a stable cornerback for the Giants and is only 27 years old. Davon House was brought in last year from green Bay and played well for most of the year especially down the stretch. Both cornerbacks play with good length and are pretty similar in terms of skill set. Davon House will likely win the starting job opposite to Ramsey, but Amukamara will still see plenty of play time in sub packages.
3) Defensive End: Jared Odrick vs Yannick Ngakoue - Dante Fowler Jr has looked like an absolute monster during OTAs and it's no different in training camp. With Malik Jackson and Sen'Derrick Marks holding down the defensive tackle positions, who will play opposite to Fowler Jr? Yannick Ngakoue was drafted this year in the third round and brings a unique skill set to the table. He is mostly a pure pass rusher and plays with great speed off the edge. Jared Odrick is the veteran who can play anywhere on the defensive line but is definitely more suited for the end position. With experience and power on his side, Odrick should assume the starting defensive end position opposite to Dante Fowler Jr, but expect Ngakoue to get plenty of play time especially on third downs.
4) Running Back: T.J. Yeldon vs Chris Ivory - T.J. Yeldon showed flashes of a workhorse running back in 2016, but inconsistent play and injuries led to the Jags bringing in former Jets running back Chris Ivory this offseason. Both of these backs should complement each other in terms of play style. Yeldon being more shifty and a better pass catcher, and Ivory brings the power running game to the next level. Neither running back has been a token of health, and both should get plenty of play time. However, there is a reason the Jags brought in Ivory. Head coach Gus Bradley has been vocal about the run game needing improvement. Ivory showed last year he can be an every down back in his own right by putting up over 1,000 rushing yards and 8 total touchdowns. Expect Chris Ivory to handle most of the early down and goal line work, while Yeldon catches more passes. It should be around a 55-45 split in Ivory's favor.
5) Middle Linebacker: Paul Posluszny vs Myles Jack - Paul Posluszny has stated Myles Jack is the future of the middle linebacker position for the Jags. However, he is not going to give up his starting job that easy. Posluszny has played with the first team the majority of training camp, but don't be surprised if Jack takes his spot as the Jags middle linebacker sooner than later. With Telvin Smith having a firm grasp on the weak side, expect Jack to be on the strong side for the 2016 season with Posluszny as the starting middle linebacker. The three will form a respectable line backer core for the Jags.