Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/28/12

Training camp starts tomorrow and the Colts have a lot of position battles on display. We breakdown and predict all of them.

1. Starting Running Back

One of the more intriguing battles. Many thought that Donald Brown was the clear cut starter, but that's not the case. Ever since running back coach David Walker announced that the starting spot is wide open, questions have been flying everywhere. Is Donald Brown the starter? Does he deserve to be the starter? Right now, he does as he's proven more than the 2 other guys (Delone Carter and Vick Ballard), but get a good training camp from either of the backups and that could create some controversy. This battle is much closer than it appears. I believe that if one person takes over the starting spot, it's Vick Ballard, not the current backup Delone Carter. Why not Carter? Because in the chances he got last year, he either fumbled or didn't do much. He looked useless. Now, he could turn it around, but I find that a bit unrealstic considering he's been injured for most of the offseason. Now, Vick Ballard is a hidden gem. I've been saying that all along before and after the draft. He's a strong big back who also has pretty good speed (4.6 40 yard dash). Also, watching him at the minicamp impressed me even more. His cuts were crisp and he broke tackles. He's a workhorse and has a chance to get the starting spot.

Prediction (starter to 3rd string): Donald Brown, Vick Ballard, Delone Carter

2. Starting Right Guard

This is also a toss up, actually, much more of a toss up than the running back spot, because there isn't a consensus starter. There's Ben Ijalana, Mike McGlynn, Justin Anderson and a couple others fighting for the spot. Although Ijalana is more athletic and versatile, McGlynn does have experience over him and has played in the interior part of the line before as a starter. Anderson is a wildcard, you never know with these rookies. Anderson is versatile, and pretty strong. He played the tackle spot in college. He's my wildcard, but I don't think he'll start. I see this being a battle between Ijalana and McGlynn. There's also a chance that they both start with Ijalana playing the right tackle spot. There are lot of possibilities with the right side of the line. Right now, I'm going to go with experience over athleticism and say that McGlynn starts the season as the starter, but doesn't finish it as the starter.

Prediction (starter to 3rd string): Mike McGlynn, Ben Ijalana, Justin Anderson

3. #2 Cornerback

Jerraud Powers is the best cornerback on this team and he rightfully deserves the number 1 spot. Now the #2 spot is pretty wide open. There isn't much talent there, but there are some decent players. The guys vying for the spot are Kevin Thomas, Chris Rucker, Cassius Vaughn, Justin King, and Terrence Johnson. The 3 front runners are Thomas, Rucker and Vaughn, but Johnson played with the Colts last year, and King has more starting experience over any of these guys, so it's only fair to add them in. Thomas played the outside spot last year, and looked awful. However, the scheme that the Colts used (Tampa 2) was horrific and made a lot of the defensive players look bad. This year, the Colts are playing man to man. Kevin Thomas is a man to man cornerback, but Rucker is more physical off the line. It's going to end up being a battle between the two, and I think both of them will start. Rucker will start on the inside. Physicality is better for the nickel cornerbacks and man-to-man is better for the outside guys. I was skeptical of Thomas when the Colts drafted him and last year didn't help, but I'm ready to give him a chance and prove himself.

Prediction: #1 Powers, #2 Thomas, NICKEL Rucker, Vaughn, King, Johnson

4. Starting Free Safety

Now, they say that Antoine Bethea is the strong safety (I thought it was the other way around), but I'll go with the fans on this one. The free safety spot is an interesting one. It's not up in the air, the clear cut starter is Tom Zbikowski. Here's the thing, I think everyone is underestimating David Caldwell and Joe Lefeged. Both didn't do the worst job last year and they almost looked as good as Melvin Bullitt. Now, Bullitt isn't great, but neither is Zbikowski (although Zbi is better). Caldwell and Lefeged could offer competition and make this interesting. They do have some starting experience, and they are competitive (they tried all 60 minutes in the Saints game...). I believe Zbikowski will win the starting job, but you never know what could happen and he has never really gotten a chance in the NFL. He could strikeout in training camp. It's just a scenario I'm throwing out there.

Prediction (starter to 3rd string): Tom Zbikowski, David Caldwell, Joe Lefeged

5. Starting Tight End

The most talked about battle of the 5. It was even covered by NFL.com analyst Daniel Jeremiah. Now it's between Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. That's it, no one even comes close. Fleener was drafted a round before Allen, but many considered Allen to be the more well rounded tight end, with Fleener being the better receiving one. To add to the battle, Fleener was at Stanford for most of the offseason whereas Allen was here in Indy. He's probably more comfortable (and probably knows the system better) than Fleener. That's an advantage. However, Fleener has a special relationship with Andrew Luck as they went to college together and were a great combination while at Stanford. That may play a factor in who starts as it always comes down to Luck's developement. It's very tight right now, and I believe that training camp and some preseason games will decide this battle. Here's the thing though, even if Fleener (for example) wins, they'll both be on the field at the same time for most of the time. You could almost say that the starter is somewhat irrelevant. But I need to predict someting and here it is.

Prediction (starter to 3rd string): Allen, Fleener Smith, Snow (LS)

That's it for now, hope you watch the Colts' training camp as it should be a good one!

Be sure to check out other great articles at Everything Colts.

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