While many pieces to the Dallas Cowboys seem set in stone, just as many are still up in the air in Oxnard, California, as veterans and young guns scrap it out for starting positions.
Here's our five most intriguing training camp position battles, with a hat tip to CBS Sports:
Butler's impressive showing the Hall of Fame game likely bumped up his status in Jason Garrett's books (2 rec, 78 yards).
The Cowboys are absolutely stacked at the position, and not everyone will make the cut -- no matter how impressive they may be. That means there needs to be elite play in Oxnard to guarantee a spot in Arlington this year, and that begins with Brice Butler.
Cole Beasley, who is coming off of a career season, won't budge from the WR3 spot. Butler, however, received only a one-year prove-it deal after a poor showing in 2016, and he's now up against rookie Noah Brown and players like the unsung Andy Jones, both of whom are fighting tooth-and-nail to make impress head coach Jason Garrett and Co.
Easily one of the best battles in camp will be the one that decides the left guard position. As it stands right now, Jonathan Cooper is listed as the starter.
Per NBC Sports, "As it stands, Collins has owned the right tackle spot and won't be moved, but the battle inside has just begun. Green, who was returning from injury that sidelined him last season (foot), suffered a shoulder injury early in camp and is week to week. He needs to desperately prove he's better than the redemption-seeking Cooper, a player the Cowboys lusted heavily for during the 2013. Bell has a contract clause that pays him extra for not only shedding weight ($450K total in three increments), but also added money for playing a high snap count in 2017."
To be specific, Bell could earn a $500K bonus if he becomes the team's starting right tackle, playing a minimum of 75 percent of the offensive snaps at the position to receive the full payout, with a reduced bonus of $250K if he plays 60 percent of snaps at the spot. Collins isn't prepared to let Bell see that payday, however, now or ever.
With money, ego and reputations on the line -- this fight is going to be a blast to watch unfold.
Fullback-turned-running back Rod Smith led all Cowboys with combined yardage at the Hall of Fame game, looking quite spry while he did it.
"The only true battle in the RB corps is Morris against everyone not named Elliott or McFadden. The Cowboys love themselves some RBs, but don't count on them carrying five into the regular season," wrote NBC Sports. "Someone has to go, even if it's to the 10-man practice squad (whether on the Cowboys or another team)."
This battle could easily be renamed "Taco Charlton vs. himself," as the young, high-potential defensive end has shown inconsistency in Oxnard. Then again, that's exactly what training camp is for, and he's yet to play his first regular season NFL game.
It's been a rough start for first-round pick Taco Charlton, and things won't get any easier going forward.
In all fairness, the former Michigan star is going up against arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, with players like All-Pro Tyron Smith and athletic freak La'El Collins set to give him fits. This will only make him better for his rookie debut, and he'll need all the fire-breeding he can get based upon the Cowboys' opponents he'll be up against this season. In camp he's been receiving a mix of both first- and second-team reps as the team continues to bring him along.
"Any expectation that Charlton would come in and be the savior of the Cowboys' pass rush is naive, to say the least. The first thing to remember is rookie pash rushers rarely ever hit double-digit sack numbers their first year out. Former linebacker and incumbent franchise sack leader DeMarcus Ware had only eight in 2005 before going on to a Hall of Fame career. No one's saying Charlton is Ware, but perspective must be had here."
"This all makes the defensive line battle one of the more intriguing this July, as there's simply no telling where everyone lands. Tyrone Crawford owes the Cowboys a mountain of production for his premature big-money contract, but it's veteran Benson Mayowa who led the team in sacks last season (6). Maliek Collins could prove to be the best defensive lineman on the team, but redshirt pass rusher Charles Tapper is now healthy (pars defect/back) and looking to make his presence felt in a big way."
Even before training camp started, Pro Football Focus had already predicted that big-name free agent signing Nolan Carroll would lose his starting spot. The man who stood to gain from that loss? Anthony Brown. (However, Carroll is listed as the starter on the Cowboys' website).
The veteran Carroll is facing charges for DWI, for which he's yet to receive a court date. He's currently awaiting word from the NFL regarding a potential suspension that could stretch two games, placing him on the bubble given how well the aforementioned rookies are performing thus far in camp.
A strong rotation going into the regular season could be Lewis outside the hashes opposite the unsung threat, Anthony Brown, while Awuzie travels as needed and Scandrick mans the slot. A combination of an improved Jeff Heath rotating with Woods, Awuzie and second-year safety Kavon Frazier would make for a hard-hitting corps -- adding to the insane cover ability and athleticism of Byron Jones.
If training camp is any indication, expect the Cowboys to figure it out and improve dramatically over a 2016 season that saw them ranked 27th in the league in interceptions, reeling in only nine all year.