NFL position battles: Will Eddie Lacy start at RB for Green Bay?

Dilip Vishwanat

There has been some separation in the preseason position battles, and one starting job has been locked up.

Quarterback competitions draw the majority of headlines during training camp, but they aren't the only position battles going on. Several starting jobs on both sides of the ball are still up for grabs, although one second-year player locked up a starting position earlier this week.

Let's take a closer look at how a few position battles are shaping up.

St. Louis running backs

After giving Isaiah Pead an extended look in Week 2 of the preseason, Jeff Fisher named Daryl Richardson the Rams' starting running back. The move isn't a surprise since Pead is suspended for the season opener and Richardson has been the more impressive player. Despite being a seventh-round pick, Richardson outplayed Pead -- a second-round pick -- last season. That's continued this preseason, leading to Fisher officially naming Richardson the starter.

Pead will likely be in the mix once he returns from suspension, although it's still unknown how much he will play. Unless Richardson falters, Pead may have a lot of ground to make up if he's going to take over the starting role as Joe Mazzi of Turf Show Times wrote:

Daryl Richardson will not only be the opening day starter at running back, but will also hold that title for some time thereafter. Isaiah Pead did little to reassure fans, but all the blame cannot be placed on him as the offensive line did little at his aid. Pead has shown to be the team's best pass blocking back, however.

Green Bay running backs

Eddie Lacy made his preseason debut in Week 2 and wowed fans with a combination of agile spin moves and power running. DuJuan Harris is still in the mix to start, despite missing nearly all of camp and he will make his case in the third week of the preseason. Injuries limited Lacy earlier in camp, so the winner may be decided by default if both can't stay healthy through the rest of camp. Jason Hirschhorn of Acme Packing Co expects Lacy to see the majority of snaps in the season opener, even if he doesn't officially start.

Lacy's only viable competitor at this stage is DuJuan Harris. Harris missed virtually all of the offseason recovering from surgery to remove a cyst on his lung and a lingering knee injury. McCarthy says Harris will be 100% for the third preseason game, but that doesn't provide him with many snaps to upstage Lacy.

Outlook: While the Packers may elect to name Harris the starter for week 1, the majority of the snaps are likely to go to Lacy if he's healthy.

San Francisco cornerbacks

Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers are locked in as San Francisco's starting cornerbacks, leaving a contested battle for the nickel cornerback spot. Tramaine Brock was reportedly leading the competition early in camp with Nnamdi Asomugha playing well lately.

San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said they are beginning to have some separation at that spot, although he declined to say which player was leading the competition. David Fucillo of Niners Nation wonders how the corners will be used in the third preseason game, noting Brock's versatility could play a role:

It would not surprise me to see Nnamdi claim that number three job, but Brock brings more versatility to the table in terms of playing on both sides of the field. Furthermore, while reports had Nnamdi getting a little bit of practice work at left cornerback,

Denver running backs

While other position battles may be decided by who plays the best, Denver's running back competition may be settled by who struggles the least. Both Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball struggled against Seattle, leaving a major question mark in the Broncos' backfield.

Hillman rushed for 34 yards on 13 carries while fumbling twice. Ball had more success on the ground, but missed a blitz pickup which led to a sack. Knowshon Moreno returned to practice on Monday and he could be in the mix, especially with no one else stepping up. Whoever wins the job, Mile High Report doesn't want to see Hillman rushing between the tackles or in the red zone anytime soon:

Hillman is not a feature back. He's not capable of carrying the load. The Broncos STUBBORNLY continue to use the guy inside and at the goalline. Look, I haven't been thrilled with Montee Ball to this point but let's call a spade a spade. You don't see other teams using their scatback as the main guy. This is stupidity on the Broncos part and I can't help to think some sort of veteran bias that plagues John Fox's thinking.

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