LCB - Keenan Lewis vs. Cortez Allen vs. Curtis Brown. Two of the three players who opened last season as the Steelers' top cornerbacks were allowed to leave over the offseason, Bryant McFadden and William Gay. While neither is seen as an irreplaceable loss (some fresh blood, frankly, was needed), younger players still need to step up into roles. Ostensibly, the competition for who will be the official left cornerback and who will be the nickel back is between three players: Lewis, Allen and Brown. The former two are heavy favorites. Lewis is entering his fourth season, and Allen and Brown were rookies last season. While Allen was seen as more of the longterm "project" when he was drafted, he earned significant playing time by the end of the season. Don't be surprised if he pulls the upset and starts over Lewis when the regular season gets underway.

LT - Max Starks vs. Mike Adams vs. Trai Essex. Neither of the two top candidates competing for this spot is running with the first team at the start of training camp. Starks -- re-signed last week after the team was satisfied with his recovery from a torn ACL sustained during the playoff loss in Denver -- began camp on the PUP list. Adams, a second-round pick from Ohio State, might have the most talent of the group. It is generally not the Steelers' policy to start a rookie, but just two seasons ago, Maurkice Pouncey so wowed at camp that he was inserted at center for Week 1 and became a Pro Bowler. In the meantime, Essex is running with the first team at left tackle.

RG - David DeCastro vs. Ramon Foster. If anyone has a resume like Pouncey's, it's DeCastro. Pouncey himself said Friday that DeCastro is ahead of where he was at this point of his rookie year. DeCastro slid to the No. 24 overall draft pick, elating the Steelers, who see him as their next Alan Faneca. DeCastro was even given the same number (66) as Faneca, a nine-time All Pro guard who also was drafted in the first round by the Steelers. There's only one problem with DeCastro's annotation to star level, however: He's not running with the first team at the start of camp. That's viewed largely as a formality, though. Foster has been a serviceable starter over the past three years since being signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009. But he has nowhere near the pedigree of DeCastro.

Follow Steelers reporter Chris Adamski on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLPIT and @BuzzsawPGH.