John Harbaugh loves competition, so the Baltimore Ravens coach is really going to enjoy this offseason and training camp.
There are seven starting jobs up for grabs this year, which means nearly one-third of the offensive and defensive lineups have question marks. This shouldn't come as a surprise, because changes are expected for a team that goes 5-11 and loses its most games since 2007.
Here is a look at the battles for starting jobs:
Running back: Justin Forsett has led the Ravens in rushing the past two seasons, but Harbaugh wouldn't commit to him as the featured runner in February. Perhaps Harbaugh was being noncommittal just in case Baltimore drafted Ezekiel Elliott in the first round. With the Ravens not taking a running back in the first three rounds, Forsett is the favorite to remain the top back. He will have to fend off Buck Allen, rookie fourth-round pick Kenneth Dixon, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Trent Richardson, and Terrance West.
Wide receiver: One of the bigger storylines will be who's going to start opposite Steve Smith Sr. It will be an interesting competition between Mike Wallace, who received $4.5 million guaranteed from Baltimore in free agency; Breshad Perriman, the team's first-round pick from a year ago; and Kamar Aiken, who led the Ravens with 75 receptions last season.
Left tackle: Ravens officials say there is an open competition between Eugene Monroe and Ronnie Stanley. Monroe is scheduled to make a team-high $6.5 million in base salary this season, but he has missed 16 games because of injury the past two years. Stanley was the first offensive lineman drafted this year and was the No. 6 overall pick. If Stanley beats out Monroe, Baltimore would likely try to trade Monroe.
Left guard: If Stanley loses the left tackle competition, he is going to move to left guard for his rookie season. As Harbaugh put it, the Ravens aren't going to sit Stanley after investing such a high pick in him. But, if Stanley proves he is ready to start at left tackle, Baltimore has plenty of options to fill the void left by Kelechi Osemele, who became the NFL's highest paid guard with the Oakland Raiders ($25.4 million guaranteed). John Urschel, Vlad Ducasse, Ryan Jensen and rookie fourth-round pick Alex Lewis will all compete for this spot.
Defensive end: To replace Chris Canty, the Ravens can either go with last year's fill-in Lawrence Guy or a high draft pick in third-rounder Bronson Kaufusi. Guy is one of Baltimore's more underrated players and proved he can more than hold his own in six starts last season. Kaufusi is considered a project by some, but he is more of the prototypical 3-4 defensive end at 6-feet-6, 285 pounds.
Inside linebacker: The Ravens didn't draft an inside linebacker or sign one in free agency after cutting leading tackler Daryl Smith. Baltimore could still add a veteran later this offseason, but it looks like the Ravens want to see what the younger linebackers can do next to C.J. Mosley. Zachary Orr got increased reps toward the end of last season, which should give him the early edge over Arthur Brown and Albert McClellan.
Cornerback: Shareece Wright started the last five games for the Ravens last season and was re-signed to a three-year, $13 million deal ($4.76 million guaranteed). He has also become a favorite of the coaching staff with his commitment to attention to detail. All of this should put him at the top of the depth chart next to Jimmy Smith to begin offseason workouts. But Baltimore signed Jerraud Powers, a seven-year starter, to a one-year, $1.75 million contract this month. Powers' ball skills should give him a chance to beat out Wright. Needless to say, Smith, Wright and Powers will see plenty of playing time, because they will be part of Baltimore's nickel defense.
Depending on if the NFL takes action against the Ravens for suiting up rookies in full pads, Baltimore is scheduled right now to hold 10 organized team activity practices over the next three weeks. Mandatory minicamp will be held June 14-16. These will be the last practices before the Ravens start training camp in late July.