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Training camp battles: defensive tackle

With the start of training camp coming next week, we review the five biggest position battles with the Dallas Cowboys.

Defensive tackle

The favorite: Nick Hayden

The contenders: Terrell McClain, Ken Bishop and Tyrone Crawford

Outlook: Hayden became a starter due to injuries last season. He was more than serviceable (44 total tackles and a fumble recovery) but now the Cowboys have added some competition. In free agency the Cowboys acquired McClain to play the one-technique position and in the draft selected Bishop in the seventh round. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli likes position flexibility with his linemen so expect numerous players to get these looks. Crawford missed last season with a torn Achilles and the team is excited about his potential. Crawford can play rush end and defensive tackle, particularly in the nickel defense. Hayden will be challenged by McClain who impressed the coaches with his work in the offseason. This is an important season for McClain based on how his career has developed. He's played for three NFL teams before signing with the Cowboys. Establishing himself in the starting lineup is a must so he can shed the label of journeyman.

Who wins?: There’s nothing wrong if McClain wins the job over Hayden. He’s quicker and can also play the three-technique position as well.